SHS parents call special meeting

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 15, 2006

Students’ academic and athletic futures focus of discussion

By Cassandra Mickens

The Selma-Times Journal

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Parents of Southside High School students held a special called meeting with Dallas County School officials Monday night to discuss the academic and athletic futures of their children.

Seventeen parents and students gathered in the boardroom of the county schools’ offices on Lauderdale Street. Anthony K. Hardy spearheaded the conversation. Hardy has no children within the county school system, but he does have nieces and nephews who are. Hardy is concerned about the lack of academic and athletic scholarships offered at Southside High. Hardy said the school’s administration should be more proactive in finding scholarship opportunities for its students.

“It’s their (the administration’s) responsibility to get children the best opportunities they can regardless,” Hardy said.

No Southside High faculty members were present at the meeting.

Parents also discussed student scores on the Alabama High School Graduation Exam, funding for school yearbooks, dress code enforcement and the outward appearance of Southside High, located on U.S. Highway 80.

“For years, Southside High has been going down, down, down,” Hardy said. “This is not something that happened overnight.”

School Superintendent Dr. Fannie Major-McKenzie responded to all parent concerns. When Major-McKenzie became superintendent in April 2005, Southside High was among her top priorities. Major-McKenzie said Southside has improved tremendously since her first view of the school one year ago.

“Yes, improvements can be made, but I can look you straight in the eye and say Southside today looks better than it has looked in a long time.”

Major-McKenzie said she is committed to enriching the program at Southside and other county schools. Major-McKenzie later commended parents for voicing their concerns to her and administrative assistants Freeman Waller and Don Willingham. Plans are currently underway to schedule a second meeting with parents, school officials and Southside High faculty.

“If all of us work together, there’s nothing we couldn’t do for Southside High School.”

Rumor squashed

Parents also addressed rumors concerning the installation of cameras in the girl’s restroom at Tipton Middle School. Waller, whose duties includes maintaining school buildings and grounds, thoroughly examined the restroom with TMS Principal Alvin Owens and found the rumors to be false.

“There are no cameras,” Waller said. “They’re not there.”