Cobb Middle School Administration Under Investigation by District

Cobb Middle School Administration Under Investigation by District

At the most recent Leon County School Board meeting, the LCS Board attorney, Opal Williams, revealed that actions by Cobb Middle School Principal, Sarah Hembree, are under investigation by the school district.

The investigation came to light after a parent of a Cobb Middle School student addressed the Board at the April 23rd LCS Board meeting held at Pineview Elementary School.

Ms. Chaquita Wesley, during the citizen comment section of the agenda, provided a handout to the Board members and began her remarks by saying she was at the meeting to speak because she was not getting any response to emails she was sending to Board officials.

Wesley stated “that my daughter with dozens of other students had their school choice revoked not because of attendance but because of the principal and assistant principal’s personal views on their race.”

Wesley implored the Board to look a the number of African-American students that had their school choice revoked over the last eight months.

After Ms. Wesley’s time expired and she concluded her remarks, the LCS Board attorney publicly informed Ms. Wesley and other to members of the audience that the matter was under investigation by district personnel.

LCS spokesman Chris Petley told a local media outlet that LCS is not at liberty to discuss why school choice applications are revoked, but said race is not involved with the decision.

38 Responses to "Cobb Middle School Administration Under Investigation by District"

  1. As an outsider looking in because I no longer have school age children, but also as a hardcore voter, I can’t help but wonder if any investigation initiated by Mr. Hanna is to address real issues, or fake issues manufactured by Hanna to achieve a political objective. For anyone who was paying attention, his campaign established he has no political scruples.

  2. The claim that racism is a card and not a reality is laughable—especially within Leon county schools. But there is no need to argue about the reality that some refuses to see. Hint: the presence of black students at a school does not overcome evidence of racial and or class privilege within these social spaces.

    Ultimately, Processes need to change for the better. Transparency concerning school choice selection process etc is key. Here is the problem: Administration is accountable to themselves. They answer to the people they respect. I know this as a parent who made efforts to communicate with Leon county administrators about the school options available for my child with special needs who was transferring from a different state. Straight forward questions were not addressed. Emails and requests to forward rights of the student ignored. Violations of IDEA occurred. I contacted Hanna and his secretary for support/guidance with lower level admin and there was no response. Have to assume that incompetence—in addition to race/class privilege in racially segregated Tallahassee matters here. That said, Hanna and his colleagues will find that what is done in the dark is usually exposed, at some point, for all to see with sparkling clarity.

  3. Lets wait for the facts.
    BTW I did not lump every parent together as did the complaining parent did to make it a racial issue.Removal should only be done if it is warranted. Please do not misconstrued my words.

  4. This is truly unbelievable that the race card can be played to make those in charge look like predators specifically out to harm certain children. Why not look at the parents and how often they were informed of their children’s attendance. I make sure that my children’s attendance is kept up with so that the program they participate in does not get revoked. Parents are informed constantly of attendance violations. It should not be any surprise if they read through the agreement and requirement portions when they sign up for specific government programs. This is a parent not taking responsibility for keeping up with their child’s education. The one who gets hurt is the child for a parents negligence. Focus the blame on the right person. Not those who everyday try to help and educate our children!

    1. Themes, it defies common sense that a parent would go to the trouble of researching school choice, meet the deadline for filing paperwork and give up free transportation (ie have to get their child to school) only to not have their child attend? And then to have the courage to put together documentation and show up at a school board meeting and risk being the subject of public news discussions? Yes let’s look at this brave, motivated parent who tried to get a child out of a failing school and a better chance in life and then talk about how its all her fault. These administrators need to understand that education is a right and tossing a kid in the middle of the year is harmful. Instead lease do your job and find out why they aren’t coming to school (sickness, family emergency?) and HELP them.

      1. I can completely understand the fine point of the effort that it takes to get your child in the proper school and the obstacles you have to go through in order to secure them a position in that establishment. I am not taking anything away that. The point of the matter here is that they are trying make this a racial issue. Why not look at ALL the children who have been revoked and the reasoning’s behind them. I work in the medical field and see that people jump through hoops to get insurance and still are not compliant. So common sense it not required to look at this matter, nor in any way deserve praise if you do not follow through with the contract signed. If the child is having attendance issues it is NOT the job of the attendance personnel to chase behind the hundreds of students that attend that school to find out why they are not coming. It is the parents responsibility to keep good lines of communication with the school if they expect a positive outcome. So why does the parent not do THEIR JOB and turn in excuse slips and if it is a medical issue bring in proper documentation pertaining to that, if it is a family issue talk to the counselors at the school. I have written many excuse letters and one child I know comes to therapy every Thursday and there is not issue with the school administration or teachers. They are willing to work with you as long as you do your portion. Sometimes we have to HELP ourselves and not expect others to do it!

          1. You are asserting the parent and probably any parent who complains is irresponsible and her/their child should have been removed. If she was so irresponsible and incompetent at parenting I don’t think she would be showing up at a school board meeting with documents in hand. Like I said, common sense.

  5. Ricky Bell, retired, went in DROP and is back full time thanks to Shelly Bell working behind the scenes to get Rocky elected. Shelly Bell was promoted from Godby to Lively without an interview. The Bell’s, Gergory, Cox Kraul, Rodgers and others were reward for what they did to get Rocky where he is. Others on the “hit list” non renewed, lives destroyed by Hanna.

    Word is Ricky Bell has an affidavit that Rocky admitted to him he and his attorney made up the whole notebook to dirty up Pons because they new it would take 2 years to investigate the matter. Anyone connected with Rocky is as guilty as he is for ethical violations.

    To Julie, sorry that Rocky set you up for failure. Rocky should have resigned after he was caught dating a teacher he supervised and evaluated. Rocky should have resigned when it became public that he bullied a teacher into a transfer that cost taxpayers a monetary settlement. Rocky should have resigned when it was made public he mislead parents, students and the Leon High community for years stating “having no children of my own ” at graduation speeches after graduation speech although we all know he owed $100,000 in back child support! Rocky should have resigned when Hank Coxe informed the board Rocky mislead the board when he claimed “whistle-blower” when he later admitted he had no knowledge of any wrongdoing, telling Ricky Bell he made it all up costing taxpayers $600,000 ! Rocky handles problems like most bullies do, refusing to acknowledge what they did, laying in wait to destroy more lives.

  6. No one has mentioned the fact that the Bell’s think they run the school system along with Rocky. Julie gets transferred or reassigned all the time. That’s how Rocky handles a problem.

  7. Can anything be done or said about the growing number of Westside elementary school students that are from outside Leon County due to school choice? Has anybody noticed that Godby’s continuing failing grade as well as Springwood Elementary School could be from the outside influences of students coming in from other counties that had failing school systems. But wait, we get money from the state for each one of those students coming from other counties that needs school choice! Unfortunately, we apparently get their lack of education also, but nobody’s asking those questions. Meanwhile, Springwood keeps continuing to be a low achieving school. Can anyone say, “Stop the insanity!”

    1. The insanity was the election of Rocky Hanna, who has been over his head since the moment he was announced winner. The superintendent Mr Hanna has no curriculum knowledge, according to his peers Mr. Hanna was never viewed as a leader among school administrators, as a district administrator Mr Hanna spent most of his time gathering documents for an innuendo filled notebook that he sent off to State and Federal authorities to dirty up the former superintendent.

      What can be done about the schools is something the school board won’t do which is to put an appointed superintendent on the ballot. If we continue to have a lack of leadership and a void of curriculum development our school district will continue down the path that we are on. Mr Hanna put in place the principal at Godby and Springwood so those leadership decisions rest with him as does the curriculum or lack thereof that draws parents into either school. Wait, Godby has an amazing graduation rate according to this statistics put forward from Leon County schools but it also has one of the highest homeschool numbers in the state of Florida for a high school.

      Voters wanted to change in Leon County Schools, what they got is a big change avoid of leadership. They also received no new high school but hey that’s okay because Rocky is way over budget at Rickards High School and he hired his buddy Tom Inserra who denied the new high school for many years and was a foe of the former superintendent. Cronyism reins under the leadership of Rocky “Hit List” Hanna.

  8. Can anything be done or said about the growing number of Westside elementary school students that are from outside Leon County due to school choice? Has anybody noticed that Godby’s continuing failing grade as well as Springwood Elementary School could be from the outside influences of students coming in from other counties that had failing school systems. But wait, we get money from the state for each one of those students coming from other counties that needs school choice! Unfortunately, we apparently get their lack of education also, but nobody’s asking those questions. Meanwhile, Springwood keeps continuing to be a low achieving school. Can anyone say, “Stop the insanity!”

  9. My daughter attends Cobb Middle School and we know Principle Hembree. She took over a complete train wreck from the last administration and is doing her best to save this once highly rated school. As for anyone who thinks that blacks are discriminated against at Cobb, I challenge you to pay a visit in the morning before the school bell rings. Thank you Prinicple Hembree and all of the teachers & staff at Cobb for trying hard to provide a positive educational experience to the kids. This problem is not unique to Tallahassee and can be found in hundreds of cities throughout America.

    1. SR, what would you see if you went there in the morning? I am not clear on what you are saying. And when was Cobb ever highly rated?

    2. Sarah Hembree took over a train wreck? Wait, the former Principal was tapped for a promotion, so you are saying Rocky promoted the Principal of a train wreck? Define train wreck? I define it as Rocky Hanna enacted a “hit list” as soon as he could after becoming Superintendent. A train wreck is promoting 6 people to Assistant Superintendents without an interview, the same for the Principal of Lively and the elementary director.

      A train wreck is 10 schools dropping a letter grade. A train wreck is 5 schools graded as a D, one as an F.

      A train wreck is Rocky Hanna calling the legislature “stupid” shouting at the top of his lungs at a rally. A train wreck is Sarah Hembree having her desk moved to the roof of the school as some motivational stunt, emulating the stunts Rocky pulled as Principal of Leon High.

      A train wreck is a failure by the school board to censure Rocky Hanna for costing the taxpayers/school district $600,000 through his notebook when he admitted he made up all the contents, wrote misleading summaried and then circulated the notebook to dirty up the former Superintendent.

      You are correct, we have a train wreck in Leon County Schools. You are correct there are great teachers at Cobb, Rocky honors them by having the 46th lowest paid teachers in Florida while his hand pick Assistant Superintendents make over $100,000 each.

      All aboard, the Hanna train wreck.

  10. Read the policy on school.choice attendance and multiple discipline infractions and a principal and revoke

    1. James
      The folks that need to read a piolicy are those that serve Rocky Hanna. Rocky just settled a case with former Superintendent for a $100,000 without a lawsuit because Rocky deliberately did not follow a policy. Rules and ethics went out the window as soon as Rocky “hit list” Hanna was elected.

      Because of the antics of those like Rocky and Sarah Hembree school choice, charters, vouchers and now new scholarship opportunities are a mandate from the legislature. Left on its own the reign of Rocky Hanna and those like Mrs Hembree enact an elitist form of public education that emboldens school segregation.

    2. James, Here’s how it works in Leon County. Principal decides the student won’t make the scores or doesn’t like the parent or maybe doesn’t like the demographic of the family, etc.. Principal then tells teachers and administrators to write up student for things that would normally be considered non-events (if male student) or cites false absences or tardies (if female student). Then student is sent away and uprooted with no thought or concern of the impact to the family and child. Its twisting the rules put in place to benefit kids to harm them instead. Also, someone should follow up with the mom who spoke up at the Board meeting in six months. Chances are they will do something to her child (or her) as punishment for calling them out.

    1. SB
      School choice should be at least a one year commitment from the school. Exiting students from a choice program unless the infraction is safety related is detrimental to students and families. Choice does not mean or allow the arbitrary removal of students without due process. The facts that have been established thus far indicate a capricious calculated plan by the school administration that was set in motion, allowed to happen and would have been swept under the rug had it not been for the courage of students and parents to stand up for injustice.

      Sad but true, the Leon County School Board has track record of not holding people accountable when all the fact are in as illustrated by the Hank Coxe report to the School Board that clearly pointed out that Rocky Hanna admitted he had no first hand knowledge of any wrongdoing, Rocky also admitted he gathered the documents he put in the notebook, Rocky admitted he wrote the false and misleading summaries in each section of the notebook and that he circulated the notebook to news outlets, the Florida Dept. Of Education state and federal authorities.. US Attorney finally reveals no case, no evidence of a crime. School board response to Rocky Hanna, silence. Taxpayers out $600,000 because of Rocky Hanna.

      1. I believe that these students were denied school choice for next year. There would have to be something gregarious happen for them to boot the students towards the end of the year. School choice decisions went out the beginning of April. It sounds like the parents of the students who were denied to return next year have been trying about that long to be heard and this was the first school board meeting since School Choice decisions went out.

    2. @SB Stop being such a stuffed shirt and trying to impose your fake rules on how we post.
      We like to be free to opine on the news, say what we feel is relevant, and even entertaining sometimes.
      If we adopt your rules Steve will have to ban everyone but SB.

    3. Hey SB,
      An informed person/comment would be Hanna trained Hembree. Hembree is unethical. Rocky Hanna is unethical, read the Hank Coxe report. Review Rocky’s comments at graduation speeches year after year ” having no children of my own”… Rocky you ment to say avoiding child support on my own for 10 years, I owe over $100,000!

      Rocky your belief about at-risk students is brought to life by the actions of your protege Sarah Hembree.

      Hello school board, where are you? Silence while Chris Petley spouts misinformation.

      “Hit List” Hanna and his groupies, the gift that keeps on giving or in our case keeps depriving students and families from a world class education. When the Assistant Superintendents who teach nobody… make more in 4 months than teachers does all year, the system has problems. Let’s think, a biology teacher making less than $44,000 per year or an Assistant Superintendent making over $100,000 per year because they helped Rocky win an election…welcome to Leon County Schools. To get ahead allow Rocky to put a “hit list” in place. Just like Rocky has a ” hit list” so does Sarah Hembree. Sad.

    1. Hope
      These are trying times in regard to public trust. In an era when the Leon Schools chose to protect Rocky Hanna’s hand picked political appointees rather than putting money into teacher salaries we find a crumbling of trust. Rocky Hanna along with those who continue to support him in spite of the evidence as to his unethical behavior face increased scrutiny as demonstrated in the article. Rocky Hanna has been given access to people’s lives and vulnerabilities, and he implements a “hit list”, overspends in construction, puts former employees on non advertised contracts as payback, appoints 6 Assistant Superintendents without an interview process as political payback, and continues to mislead the public about the notebook he developed filled with misinformation that cost $600,000 to investigate when Rocky admitted he made it all up to dirty up the former Superintendent. We now have inflated graduation rates with at- risk students being intimidated and bullied to withdraw from school . Now this disgrace. Jokes are not needed, an investigation is a must.

      1. Politics can be brutal, unfair, hurt feelings, dirty, and sometimes illegal.

        I am just telling you this for your own well-being that you might want to take a step back just to give yourself some relief.

        You are going to stress yourself out to the point of giving yourself a heart attack or stroke and it is not worth it.

        Take a sabbatical, pray, have faith, and hope that all the issues will resolve itself. Let us hope for a fair resolution for all.

        I believe the graduation rate is a credible issue that you brought to light and just work with that for a while and let everything else go.

  11. Mr Hembree was probably trained by Rocky and his hand picked Assistant Superintendents, so what she is probably doing is exiting students who would score below level 3 on the state test so that the scores do not impact her school. However, if the students were there for two state attendance and funding counts they will impact her school grade. Mrs Hembree is attempting to remove students most at risk from her school. More than likely she learned this from Rocky.

    While Mrs Hembree was busy exiting students from her school what was her supervisor doing? Isn’t that the Alan Cox?

    It has been well documented that the administration of Godby High puts most high school students in advance placement US history so they wouldn’t have to take the state test, the school district has inflated its graduation rates by placing students in home-school especially at the high school level if they would not graduate on time.

    It seems to me that the reign of terror of Rocky Hanna is coming to fruition with the height of incompetence which is personified by the egomaniacs that he placed into assisted superintendent positions. I wonder how many days a week the assistant superintendents are out supporting schools? Have they ever modeled a lesson for a teacher?

    Six assistant superintendents being rewarded by Rocky at over $100,000 each, teachers are paid the 46th lowest salary in the state of Florida!

    We have a superintendent that broke all kinds of ethics rules so it would follow that he would look for those character traits in those that he promotes. The school board remains silent but smiling. If the school board follows with what they’ve done with Mr. Hanna so far they will continue to remain silent while unethical behavior is the new operational daily procedure in Leon County Schools.

    1. Are you going to take the summer off?

      If so, and to keep a sharp mind and take a break at the same time you could watch all the Rocky movies, visit the Rocky Mountains and clogg to the song Rocky Top, tour the Canadian Rockies, watch reruns of Rocky and Bullwinkle, cool down with some Rocky Road ice cream, watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and visit Rocky Mount.

      When you return you will be ready to Rock and Roll!

        1. Mark, AKA PONS, see a shrink pal. You are so lucky you were not prosecuted. Shut up and go home.

  12. I was told that the principal is trying to make Cobb Middle School an all white school. They also said that the principal and the assistant principal (Mrs.Hembree and Mrs. Wilder)is targeting mostly all black students that doesnt live in the Cobb Middle School area. In addition, students that does live in the area will still have to go after just 1 or 2 referrals.

    1. How can students that live in the boundaries be sent away after a couple of referrals? Where do they get sent to? Homeschool? When Leon County was cited as the most segregated school district in Florida by the Collins Institute, Rocky’s response was something along the lines of throwing his hands up in the air. Maybe instead he could start by eliminating rather than promulgating racism among his administrators. Oh, and this should make it harder for him to rail against school choice vouchers for poor kids, given that he and/or his staff appear committed to keeping them in the bad schools with a second class education. But he probably will rant anyway. Oh the hypocrisy.

  13. Oh my sounds like Rocky’s gonna hand out his max penalty to the offending administration over there at Cobb.
    That would be reassignment to a do nothing job buried beneath layers of bureaucracy out there on Pensacola Street.
    Oh and I forgot…with a healthy pay additive too.
    Spank ’em good Rocky!!!!!

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