Student's reinstatement compromises standards, integrity of top school

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(Editor's note: The following column is regarding a John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School student who successfully appealed after pleading guilty in a tribunal hearing to possessing marijuana and a weapon on school grounds. Although she withdrew from school and was sent to another school, she will return to Davidson this coming school year.)

The John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School Parent Teacher Organization has serious concerns regarding the recent decision of the Richmond County Board of Education to reinstate a student found to have committed several violations of Richmond County school board policy. We believe that this reinstatement sets a precedent that threatens the high standards of conduct generally associated with, and so fundamental to, the Davidson Fine Arts experience.

Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School is the crown jewel of schools in both Richmond County and the state of Georgia. Evidence for this claim can be found in Davidson recently being identified as the No. 1 public high school and middle school in the state. Davidson consistently has been recognized as one of the leading magnet schools in the country, and its awards over the years, both academically and in the arts, are too many to list. Davidson has given our community an enormous amount of recognition and pride over the years, and its graduates attend, and excel at, the most prestigious colleges and universities that our nation has to offer.

The privilege of attending such an accomplished school requires accountability. Each Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School student and parent signs the "Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School Contract for Parents and Students" before each school year. This contract clearly delineates the rules required to attend such a prestigious school - and the consequences for failing to do so. The Parent Teacher Organization finds it very disappointing and troubling that this contract - clearly influential in the success of the school - was ignored completely by the Board of Education prior to rendering its reinstatement decision.

Furthermore, it is widely recognized that acceptable conduct is a prerequisite to excellence and a key factor in the learning experience at Davidson. The school board's recent reinstatement ruling circumvents this most basic prerequisite, and works counter to the principles upon which Davidson was founded. The actions of the school board serve to reverse fundamental expectations that have resulted in years of excellence in academics and the arts at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School.

The continued excellence of Davidson is too important to be jeopardized by such a poor decision. The school board has an obligation to strengthen our educational system. It should never play a role in circumventing or destroying standards that have helped place one of its schools at the peak of educational excellence.
We call on the Richmond County Board of Education to correct its mistake by honoring the validity of the parent/student contract and by enforcing its terms.

Walter D. Lampp III


(The writer is president of the John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School Parent Teacher Organization.)

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patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 08/05/07 - 04:00 am
0
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Why would the BOE want to

Why would the BOE want to circumvent the student contract, especially for a student with a record of bringing drugs and weapons to school? Money? Race? What could be the underlying "reason".

jaschild
9
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jaschild 08/05/07 - 06:45 am
0
0
why would the boe not want

why would the boe not want contracts like this at every school? certainly if an agreement between parents and students is successful at one school it should be encouraged at all schools. it must be legal to require students & parents to agree to a set of rules that help ensure all students have equal opportunity to achieve high standards, right? why are students who have no interest in attaining an education allowed or COMPELLED to attend public school? the new superintendant should consider making contracts like the one at davidson mandatory. i have a feeling, though, that lawyers for the school board made it clear that such an agreement, though in principal a fine idea, is non-binding and any attempt to enforce it in this most recent incident would lead to a lawsuit.

GACopperhead
6
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GACopperhead 08/05/07 - 06:49 am
0
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Why is the student not in

Why is the student not in JAIL!!!????

jcrouch1
0
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jcrouch1 08/05/07 - 07:39 am
0
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What did the kid do?

What did the kid do?

proudsoutherner
0
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proudsoutherner 08/05/07 - 09:12 am
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it's real simple...another

it's real simple...another case of the child's black,most of the board's black,race card gets played,blacks get what they want...again.
this "child" is obviously not of the character and mindset to enjoy the privilege of attendeing this school.
i predict there will be another incident,and the question is will the damn board stand up and say,ooops we were wrong to waffle and bow down to individuals instead of doing what's right by the school itself.
i hope her teachers ride herd on her....she deserves it.

Daddyrabbit
0
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Daddyrabbit 08/05/07 - 12:14 pm
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Years ago they didn't NEED a

Years ago they didn't NEED a contract! The procedure would have been the same for any school regardless. DECENT parents weighed the facts and if the child was WRONG they also punished the child. If they were in the RIGHT, then it's time to fight for them. Notice, the critical words, DECENT, RIGHT & WRONG. Those aren't even part of the equation in a case like this. Evidently her parents have little if any moral values!

proudsoutherner
0
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proudsoutherner 08/05/07 - 01:00 pm
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amen,daddyrabbit......

amen,daddyrabbit......

alanz
0
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alanz 08/05/07 - 01:45 pm
0
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The comments of jcrouch1 are

The comments of jcrouch1 are most appropriate. Not once has anyone been informed of the real details about these charges. Not once has anyone ASKED about the true details of this case. Perhaps the big blow up about this entire event is not as big as is seems. Maybe someone is trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

jack
10
Points
jack 08/05/07 - 02:28 pm
0
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iccrouchq, try reading the

iccrouchq, try reading the article (or can you read?). Starz. if you read the article it plainly states the "child" confessed to the charges of bringing marijuana and a weapon to school. Teh ONLY reason this student was re-admitted is because of ETHNICITY (black). Now try to expel a white student for such transgressions and see how fast the BOE winds up in federal court.

bone
23
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bone 08/05/07 - 02:36 pm
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i must have missed something:

i must have missed something: where did we find out the ethnicity of this child? i don't recall seeing it in any of the stories. does someone have inside information here?

TakeAstand
13
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TakeAstand 08/05/07 - 02:50 pm
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RC BOE you could learn a

RC BOE you could learn a thing or two from the contratcs at davison and the way they uphold its rules rather than laxing them to accept the unruliness of youth. It would weed out those who do not want to learn from those who want to receive a quality education. This is a magnet school who has a great reputation, dont ruin it. Fix your wrong!!

intheknow
16
Points
intheknow 08/05/07 - 03:46 pm
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PROUDSOUTHERNER, where in the

PROUDSOUTHERNER, where in the hell does it say that this student was black? Some idiot always bring race in to a discussion. What really get me is that no one said a word about it.I knew we can depend on JACK....You know the rest to chime in about race. BONE I guess I missed it too.

proudsoutherner
0
Points
proudsoutherner 08/06/07 - 07:51 am
0
0
because the damn article was

because the damn article was in the paper a few weeks back, and i'll be damned, there was a picture of her in the paper....how do you think i know, stupid?

to be "intheknow" you sure are ....not!

proudsoutherner
0
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proudsoutherner 08/06/07 - 07:51 am
0
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bone....re: above repy

bone....re: above repy

intheknow
16
Points
intheknow 08/06/07 - 08:05 am
0
0
I looked at the article and

I looked at the article and not only did I NOT see a picture, I do not even rember her name. And even if she was Black, SO WHAT.

intheknow
16
Points
intheknow 08/06/07 - 08:10 am
0
0
I know you are a racist. I

I know you are a racist. I also believe that you are a bald faced liar, when you say that the Chronicle put her picture in the paper. I KNOW THAT.

intheknow
16
Points
intheknow 08/06/07 - 08:35 am
0
0
I went back and read the June

I went back and read the June 16th articla and still did not see a picture, nor was there any mention of what race she was. STRAIGHT UP LIAR!

MandyO
0
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MandyO 08/10/07 - 08:17 pm
0
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I am a classmate of the

I am a classmate of the student. and the article fails to address the fact that she was WRONGLY accused, and that the weapon was something she was ALLOWED to have due to the fact that she was in various backstage classes. AKA, CUTTING, DRILLING and SAWING wood!

And by the way. SHE IS WHITE. If you have any doubts, CHECK MY YEARBOOK!!!!

MandyO
0
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MandyO 08/10/07 - 08:19 pm
0
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proudsoutherner. the girl is

proudsoutherner.

the girl is WHITE.

what picture were looking at?

justus4
113
Points
justus4 08/11/07 - 05:37 am
0
0
The decision to reinstate
Unpublished

The decision to reinstate speaks volumes to the issue of race. You don't need no stinking picture to know the truth. This decision was based on race and denial of that fact is to continue to bury ones head in the sand.

bone
23
Points
bone 08/11/07 - 06:00 am
0
0
do we choose to believe you,

do we choose to believe you, justus, or mandy? i don't know either of you, but i have read enough of your previous postings to understand that you see racism in everything that happens in the world. if something is good for a white person, it must be racism. if something is bad for a black person, it must be racism.

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
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WorriedAboutOurFuture 08/11/07 - 06:44 am
0
0
Well, what if the charges

Well, what if the charges actually were found to be wrong by the RCBOE upon her appeal? Did anyone from the board say why she was allowed to return? They must have had some way of explaining their reversal. The child's race is not likely to have played a part given that there are enough agressive black and white board members to scuttle that kind of nonsense. For this poor kid's sake, one way or another the real reasons for the reversal and reinstatement should be made public. As far as I can tell, most of the people posting comments, and possibly even the guest columnist himself, don't actually have all the facts. It's all just opinion.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 08/11/07 - 06:59 am
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my sentiments exactly WAOF.

my sentiments exactly WAOF. Many questions are left unanswered by the BOE. While protecting the students privacy they are hang her out to dry. False charges? PC charges? Special treatment? Too many questions.

TakeAstand
13
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TakeAstand 08/11/07 - 08:33 am
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Raymond... what about the

Raymond... what about the other white children that were not allowed to come back? Those arguments don't hold water. Now if you want to play the money class and who ya know thing, I'll go with you on that 1. But considering many whites have not been allowed to return disproves your argument. Also most of the ones put out , knew the rules and consequences and were told they can not appeal so they didn't they just accepted it. This girls parents didn't and fought and won. No matter how wrong it is, I don't think race plays an issue. IMO

rottiesrus
0
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rottiesrus 08/11/07 - 09:07 am
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Raymond, do you know what the

Raymond, do you know what the students at DFA have to do to get into the school, what the requirements to stay in that school are??? Have you been there recently?? What other non-magnet school has a minimum gpa requirement??? Did your kids go to DFA??? Mine does, and she works harder and puts in more hours on school related things than any " public" school students she knows. As for flaunting the rules- flip flops are allowed in all public schools as of last year, not just DFA ( not a smart idea, but that's another issue). They get busted for dress code violations too.ANd the school day can run as late as 9-10 at night if they're in tech classes. Seems to me, the kids that earn the priviledge to go there have to work hard to stay there.
As for the student population- where does the idea of a rich white school come it- ever been there??? Lots of black, hispanic, asian kids, rich, middle class and poor. Part of the magnet programs requirements are to keep the schools racially balanced and the result is exposure to all types of race, religion, and economic lifestyles for the students. I know myself, I'm not rich and most of my daughters friends are from sounth augusta too.

bone
23
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bone 08/11/07 - 09:12 am
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great post, prouddfamom. what

great post, prouddfamom. what are your thoughts regarding the re-admittance of the student in this letter? surely your daughters have some information that could be relevant.

GOD almighty1
0
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GOD almighty1 08/11/07 - 09:55 am
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This story is representative

This story is representative of the whole mentality of Augusta. Unimportant things like race, gender, and socioeconomic issues are taking precedence over the real issue here. The simple fact is that a kid was caught with a weapon (be it a saw, gun, grenade) and an illegal substance on school grounds. This is wrong in any situation, but even more so at Davidson, seeing as it is not a typical, public school that is open to all, but rather only those who have been deemed especially gifted and thus rewarded with a more challenging education. Drugs and weapons have no place in our schools. That being said, the student in question should have not only been suspended, but expelled from the Richmond County public school system.

chmckin
0
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chmckin 08/11/07 - 02:50 pm
0
0
As a former DFA student

As a former DFA student myself, I agree with all you say about the school and the students, proud dfa mom, however I'm not hearing anything from you about your opinion regarding the decision to allow this student back into the school. I'm sure you've heard the details (dfa is a small, communicative community) or at least have spoken to your child about what actually happened. I, for one am very curious to know especially since I was intending to send my own daughter there when she is old enough. If standards there have sunk to the level of the rest of Richmond County Public Schools there is no way I will, though. I will keep her in private school. Please give us some much appreciated information, here.

chmckin
0
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chmckin 08/11/07 - 02:51 pm
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And all you ignorants who

And all you ignorants who can't get your mind off race, the school is required to have 50/50 quota and is a great service to the community.

coco rubio
53
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coco rubio 08/11/07 - 03:58 pm
0
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the school is awesome and

the school is awesome and will get over this.......it's obvious that very few of you know the facts with this case.........what i'd love to see is the educational background of all the members of the richmond county board of education........not sure what's up right now, but it would be great to make it mandatory to have at least a college degree to qualify to be on the board.........this would also be good for the city commission also!

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