We stand in support of our school leaders

Published 6:08 pm Friday, August 26, 2011

While it has become commonplace to see hateful opinions about school leaders, teachers, and schools in general expressed through various media sources, it has shocked and surprised us to see the obvious malice being expressed toward Dr. Fred Rayfield, Dr. Linda Lumpkin, and Dr. Larry Clark. As employees of this school system, we are ashamed that citizens of this county would engage in behavior that no doubt has impacted the lives of these leaders, their families and the schools.

Negativity (in whatever form) directed at the leaders of an organization will trickle down to the very people that organization is meant to serve. In this case children are hearing negative comments, reading negative posts online, and seeing negative news stories about their trusted school leaders. Those children are then put into an untenable situation. Do I trust what these adults are saying even though I know it is ugly and might not be true?

The leaders of our school system do not deserve this treatment. They have not earned the hate and disrespect that is being shown them. They have all conducted themselves in a manner that befits leaders with their stature and position. Those of us who see them carrying out their duties and responsibilities have intimate knowledge of just how dedicated and professional they are. It is a challenge to stand tall, amid a firestorm of ugliness, and remain true to the promise made to the students you vowed to teach, the teachers you vowed to lead, and the community you vowed to serve. Our leaders are standing tall amid the disrespect and the hate being flung at them, because that is the kind of people they are. They don’t just have a job, they have a mission. Nothing will detract them from that mission to serve the students of Decatur County.

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Our community desperately needs to attract new industry to provide jobs. Decatur County cannot hope to attract newcomers when the citizens are allowed to treat respected leaders of the community in such horrific ways. It is time that we who know better step up to support them.

We challenge our fellow teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, parents and community members: if you agree with us please write your own letter of support for our wonderful leaders and join us as we say to them: stand strong for who you are and what you believe in. We are here with you doing the job we were called to do. We appreciate your guidance in that endeavor and will stand with you.

Stephanie Landeen , Teresa Lashley, Amy I. Andrews, Ortega Ross, Kerri Gardner, Kathy S. Smith, Hildy Conder, Bill Dixon, Lynn S. Watts, Belinda Haywood, Troy Thomas, Lisa Peacock, Deborah Cothren, and Kay Black