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Are Danville Public Schools really this bad?

Today’s letter to the editor in the Danville Register & Bee paints George Washington High School as an anarchic catastrophe with uncaring teachers and rampant cheating & discipline problems. Sadly, social media is already buzzing today with people condemning the school system for all of this.

I’m asking that we all hit the brakes a little before immediately jumping to the conclusion that GWHS is today’s version of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

Let’s get it started with the above referenced letter to the editor (Register & Bee article, paywall may apply unless you break through it).

Through the eyes of a GW senior

I want to make it clear that I am not immediately rejecting the author’s opinion and stories. I am also not giving them instant full credibility. The writer is putting her side of the story out there and there are multiple sides to this issue.

I know a lot of Danville Public Schools teachers. None of the ones that I know would be as submissive as the teachers described in the opinion piece. I’m quite confident to believe that there are discipline and other issues inside GWHS, just like there are in every other schools. Do they rise to the level presented in this letter? I have no idea of the answer to this question and very few other people do either. That’s not stopping today’s onslaught of attacks against the school system, the teachers and the administration.

Here’s what I do know. Very few people attend Danville School Board meetings unless they have a specific need to do so. The public comment section of every school board meeting has never had a parent (or citizen) bring up any of these issues noted in the letter. Today, I’ve read and heard people saying “This has been the way it’s been for many years now”. My response to that is “If that’s so, then why hasn’t anything been done about it? Why hasn’t anybody said anything about it publicly?”

If the answer to my questions is “fear of reprisal”, that doesn’t cut it with me. If people truly care about the school system and the educational process, it’s way past time to get these issues out to the public. If that’s what Jazzmyne Humphries’ letter accomplishes, that’s perfect. It’s a damn shame that a student has to be the one who yells that the emperor has no clothes on.

But as for now, let’s all slow down some. Let’s allow the time for the school system to address these concerns and do that publicly. If 13 out of 20 students are willfully cheating on a test and the teacher allows that, that teacher needs to be immediately pulled into the office and handled in the appropriate manner. If the school’s administration is not doing their job properly, then it’s time for yet another administration change at the school. But once again, let’s take the time needed to fully investigate what is truly going on. Let’s all be vigilant and demand full disclosure of what is found out, though. Anything less would have the stench of a coverup.

Unfortunately, some people are instantly believing that 100% of this letter is absolutely true without taking the time to find out any of the other sides of the issues. Jumping to conclusions like what’s happening now is massively unfair to the school system and to the teachers (and all other school personnel) who devote their life to the education of the children. We’re all stakeholders in the Danville Public School system even if we don’t have children in the schools. Let’s all be responsible stakeholders.


15 comments to Are Danville Public Schools really this bad?

  • Harold Garrison

    I believe her last name is Humphries.

  • Susan Dalton

    Last year one of my daughter’s teachers called and left me a voice mail about how I had to get her under control. When she finished her message she didn’t end the call and I had a 20 minute recording of what sounded like a riot!!! I was appauled. So much so that I had my son download the file from my phone and I called GW to ask to whom I should email it, then I did. I don’t know what happened beyond that but my co-workers for whom I played the recording could not believe what they were hearing. I asked my daughter what was going on that day and she said it was like that everyday. She said she wasn’t able to learn anything in the class. She said her teacher had basically given up, that she had tried to gain control earlier in the year but she had simply given up. My daughter obviously contributed to the problem in some way or I wouldn’t have received the call, but I can assure you it stopped that day! Since then my daughter has shared other similar stories, never as bad as that class, but still disturbing. Honestly, I don’t blame the teachers. They have their hands tied behind their backs and the students know it. Having ADHD, my daughter cannot focus in a chaotic environment and too many times she has complained about that very thing. To be fair, there are people I contact at GWHS who are more than willing to help me when I need assistance. Ms. Breakley is wonderful and has addressed each problem I have shared with her in a timely fashion. Ms. Logan, in guidance, has been a great resource for me as well. No one can solve every problem and the epidemic of disrespect has gotten so out of hand it’s mind boggling. So what do we do? I believe each and every student who poses a problem should be disiplined, even my daughter if necessary, until things change. That may create quite a scene for a while, but it would certainly send a message.

  • Silence Dogood

    Alright, guess it’s up to me to defend Ms. JAZZMYNE N. HUMPHRIES and Mrs. Susan Dalton, while simultaneously demolishing this crap loaded hit piece. 1. “I know a lot of Danville Public Schools teachers…” Really who? Name some names, after all you are not talking about teachers acting improperly, indeed the supposed “teachers” you know are being mentioned because you say “None of the ones that I know would be as submissive as the teachers described in the opinion piece.” So Who? Lets leave the fact that a person who’s not brave enough to put their name with their op/ed, claims to know teachers who also remain nameless, and deconstruct the argument. So, 2. “Here’s what I do know. Very few people attend Danville School Board meetings unless they have a specific need to do so….” You then yarn about how no one seems to bring these issues up at meetings, as if thats proof that things aren’t as bad as Ms. Humphries claims. Well, duh that is not proof against this editorial letter, it is a symptom of the very root cause of all it. In general, parents don’t go to those meetings cause they don’t give a rip about their kids and education, and those that do care don’t go cause they don’t want the jerks at the board to wag a finger at them and shift the blame around, instead of doing something. 3. “If the answer to my questions is “fear of reprisal”, that doesn’t cut it with me.” Well bless the Holy martyr who wrote this piece, It’s always easy to tell someone that they should be willing to lose their job over outrage with the schools. You know what doesn’t cut it with me? Some loud month harping on teachers, many with families to support, for not willingly jumping on the grenade. Some people need that paycheck and can’t afford to rock the boat. You talk about the other side of the issues, well the other side is lackadaisy parents who don’t care, and thus have raised kids who don’t care either. and finally it’s builds to chaos.

    • Addressing your points one by one:

      1) Not gonna happen.
      2) Once you call the school board members “jerks”, your point is Dead To Me.
      3) If there’s any inkling of retribution, that should and will be killed by Stan Jones’ office.

  • Had to comment

    I enjoy your articles and opinions Bruce, but for the first time I think you are coming across as naive about a subject. The teachers you know would have to become whistleblowers to you/media to tell the truth.

  • It is that bad

    When the teachers are told to stop writing referrals, the teachers are not supported and told they are the problem, then this is what you get.
    No more suspensions, new school board policy. Super says the kids are not that bad.

    Kids address teachers as motherf*****. Principal doesn’t give arip. No respect from the students. The word is out. Students can’t be tardy, even if they come to class with 5 minit remaining.

    The kids are learning. …just learning they have the power and control.

    The school board, super, and the principal are all at fault. When will the public get the message?

  • Just Observing

    As an outsider who moved to Danville with a school age child we heard immediately about the issues with GW. The only reason we remain in town is that our now HS age child is at Galileo where they foster respect, learning and safety. Bruce, like other commenters I usually appreciate your comments but you’re way off base here. GW has been on a long spiral downward and there is nothing and no one stopping that.

  • JackieG

    Is the new superintendent indifferent or incompetent?

  • Angela Tickle

    The students that want to learn are the ones suffering! and the students that are writing to the school board and news paper are the ones that have to sit in these classrooms and be subject to these students that want to act like they are in a zoo!! Bruce you need to make a visit and check it out for yourself!

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