Leon County School Board leaders recently responded to the controversy related to the comments posted on Facebook by Sarah Hembree, the principal of Cobb Middle School.
The comments, first reported by Tallahassee Reports, addressed the role of parents in education.
“I am SO TIRED of being told we don’t know what we are doing or that we are messing with parents’ rights”, said Hembree.
Hembree addressed parents directly, “Today I say – Parents, Quit pushing for stupid bills and getting in our way…schools are going to do what’s best for your students in spite of you..”
At the May 10th Leon County School Board meeting, school board members Alva Striplin and Darryl Jones addressed the issue.
Striplin said she does not personally agree with Hembree’s remarks and believes that parents should be involved in their children’s education.
Jones, who initially posted support of Hembree’s comments in his own Facebook post, changed his position during the meeting.
Jones apologized for his comments and thanked those who reached out to him with concerns. “Allow me to take this moment to publicly grab hold of my shoestrings and pull my foot out of my mouth,” Jones said.
Jones noted that parents play an important role in student education and that all Leon County parents love their children and care about their education.
In addition, Superintendent Hanna provided a statement to Tallahassee Reports related to Hembree’s comments.
Hanna said, “There are those that seek to pit parents against schools, but here in in Leon County we believe that collaborative and cohesive parental involvement is one of the most important factors in helping students succeed. I have spoken with Principal Hembree about the social media post. While some responses to what was written was taken out of context and overblown, as Leon County School District representatives we cannot create situations where parents feel as though they do not belong in the educational process.”
Hanna also noted that during the upcoming summer there will be training related to how school officials communicate with parents and the community.
Hanna said, ” This summer, we will host a training seminar for every principal, assistant principal and school leadership team member focused on customer service and effectively communicating with parents and the community. I believe we do a good job, but we can and must do better in the future. Together, school officials and teachers, working with parents, will provide the best learning environment for our children to succeed.”