Members of the Arkadelphia Public Schools Board of Education entertained concerns from a group of parents during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday.

Members of the Arkadelphia Public Schools Board of Education entertained concerns from a group of parents during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday.
“We are here to serve as a voice for our children and also possibly any other children who may not yet have a voice,” said Roshondra Harper, a representative of a group of concerned Peake Elementary School parents. Other parents also in attended the meeting.
Harper spoke of a recent incident that reportedly occurred in an elementary school classroom.
“On Jan. 31, 2018, our students were not made to feel safe,” Harper said. “They were made to feel sad, embarrassed, less than capable and some experienced a negative form of communication from their teacher.”
Harper proceeded to explain the specifics of what allegedly transpired.
“These feelings our children experienced were brought on by the actions of a teacher, who of their own account and of the best of their recollections during the teacher’s discussion regarding their class’s low ACT Aspire test scores, referred to them in front of a class of their peers as the ‘blacks,’ with the most disheartened comment being if the black students had done better, our scores could have been better.Then the teacher proceeded to call each child by their individual name. Our children took these comments made by the teacher personally as if it was their fault that their class had the lowest overall test score.”
Harper then addressed the board more directly.
“It saddens us that this occurred and hopefully by sharing this experience with you, you all will be able to adopt a plan or policy to keep this from happening to someone else’s child.”
According to Harper, the parents have met with the teacher, the principal and the superintendent regarding the situation.
“Our concern remains, will the race of our children be in question with their learning in this teacher’s classroom? How can or will the district assure us that our children are more than the black kids and that he or she will receive the same education as other children of other races by this teacher and any other teacher in this district.”
Following the conclusion of the hearing, board members thanked the group for voicing their concerns.
Other items addressed:
• In updates for construction of Goza Middle School’s new building, Dr. Donnie Whitten, superintendent of the Arkadelphia Public School District shared that they are holding construction meetings every two weeks onsite. AT&T has moved forward with relocating the fiber phone line to Badger Lane.
“It took about two months to get that moving,” said Whitten.
The district will also soon receive some brick coloring samples to pick a color complimentary of the neighboring Arkadelphia High School.
• The board voted to consider the proposed Budget of Expenditure for FY19. This will span July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. They also approved the 2016-2017 audit report.
• The board addressed the proposed calendar for the 2018-19 school year. This calendar has the first day of school scheduled for Monday, Aug. 13 and the rescheduling of parent/teacher conferences from September to October.
• Mary Snowden, principal at Peake Elementary School, discussed progress on a mentorship program. This item will be explored next week.