CCSD Releases Another Response to Complaints from Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School; dissatisfied lawyer

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The Clarke County School District has responded to a controversial incident at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School for the second time, while an attorney for a student’s parents suspends litigation.

Attorney Jeffrey Jackson identified himself as the family representative of an Oglethorpe Avenue student who created a sign in support of the LGBTQIA+ community that read “Gay is Ok”. That sign was later removed, Jackson reported, with disparaging remarks made by school administration.

An initial letter from Acting Superintendent Brannon Gaskins was sent to parents on January 25, which acknowledged an allegation that a student’s artwork had been compared to Nazi symbolism.

Read more: CCSD Responds to ‘Incident Involving Student Artwork’ Following Community Backlash

A second letter was sent on Tuesday, which gave the school district‘s interpretation of the series of events:

“A parent has raised a concern regarding a student’s artwork displayed in a classroom. This concern was not based on a lack of support for the subject, but rather on her potential to become a source of bullying to her child.

“Recognizing the challenges of navigating age-appropriate conversations in an elementary classroom, district administrators advised the school to ask the teacher to move the artwork into the classroom .

“While discussing the situation with the teacher and explaining the reason for moving the artwork, a school staff member made reference to Nazi symbolism.”

As well: An Athens lawyer presents the SDCC demands following a controversy at Oglethorpe Ave Elementary School.

The second letter was sent after Jackson circulated a list of demands for the school district, which included the resignations of OAES Vice Principal Sandra Scott and Principal Bipul Singh, as well as public apologies from both administrators. ; a permanent mural created by the student in a prominent place in the school, at least 20 square feet; publishing policies and code of conduct manuals to prevent a future incident and implementing professional training, awareness and safe schools.

The school district’s second letter responded to one of those requests, with Gaskins saying district officials oppose “visible disciplinary action” for the staff involved.

Gaskins also announced that he would meet with OAES faculty and community partners.

“We recognize that this situation could have been handled with more care, thought, and attention. While SDCC welcomes constructive criticism and will always strive to improve, we respectfully ask our community to refrain to make personal attacks on individuals,” Gaskins said in the letter.

Jackson hand-delivered his list of demands to the school district minutes after the district’s second letter was released. He attempted to meet with school district officials, who said they could not meet that day, citing scheduling issues.

The next day, however, Jackson and his clients met with Gaskins, the district attorney and district officials to discuss what to do next.

The Clarke County School Board met later in the evening on Wednesday in a special meeting to discuss one of its strategic priorities – called “climate and culture” – where board members discussed the procedure to be followed in the event of an incident and the level of involvement of the Board in these incidents.

Jackson told the Athens Banner-Herald that he did not start the legal process because he and his clients hoped the case would be resolved outside of the court system.

“My goal is to solve this problem with the community coming together,” Jackson said.

Following his meeting with district officials, however, Jackson said the district’s second letter was “pure garbage” and “nonsense” and that the meeting “went horribly.”

This article originally appeared on the Athens Banner-Herald: SDCC Releases Another Response to Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary Complaints

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