I attended the last Franklin County school board meeting on May 8 to express my continuing concerns about the condition of Franklin County schools. I have attended meetings in the past to express concerns and have been received with open arms.

Last spring, I brought to the attention of the board, that the nurse’s office and/or the school district itself, did not have a list of the carbohydrate count for the school lunch and breakfast menus. Having an insulin dependent son, it is imperative to know the carbohydrate count being served. This issue was thankfully addressed, but I was amazed that it took me, a transplant to Franklin County, to bring it to the attention of the school board, when this is a life and death situation for any diabetic.

This year, my concerns have been many, and last week at the meeting, Mr. Johnny Gander did not want to hear about my concerns, telling me he had “heard enough.” I find it apparent that Mr. Gander and others on the school board, are proud of the “D” rating that FCHS has attained, as well as maintaining an astounding 59 percent dropout rate. How does a school district ever allow a dropout rate to get that high? From my experience over the past year and a half, I would say a lot of it is due to passing responsibility on to others, setting goals that are either not attained or never monitored for progress, a complete lack of accountability in many areas, and negligence in adhering to Florida Department of Education laws.

My concern specifically lies in non-compliance with the Offices of Professional Practices, Investigative Unit rules and regulations regarding fraudulence. Mr. Gander and the other members of the school board are well aware that grades have been entered fraudulently for the second quarter of the 2013-14 school year, in freshman science. They are aware of this but have failed to investigate and meet compliance with this law, and have allowed the instructor to remain in the district as a teacher for freshman science.

I have been told that the teacher asked for guidance in how to run his classroom and did not receive it, but quite frankly, that is not my concern. My concern is, with help or without help, the responsibility to the entire freshman class of FCHS for their education, was not met, as they had NO science taught to them this year. When grades were falsely entered for the second quarter, I spoke to Mr. Roderick Robinson, as I was initially upset with my freshman son for “earning” an F, and I was also upset that I had not been informed by the teacher that he was not understanding the material or possibly not turning in work.

What we discovered at that point, was that no material had been tested, no grades had been entered, for the entire freshman class. But students were given either a “B” or an “F”. Through many meetings with the principal and vice-principal, and finally one with the teacher, it was determined that the district’s “best option” would be to have the material for the entire first semester, “presented” to the students, not “mastered” in the remaining (at the time) seven weeks of school. This would be the equivalent of the speed of a summer college course.

But this was the school district’s “best option”, and I was assured all tests would be open book, with material presented and not mastered. It was decided that the grade that the students received for the fourth quarter, would also be entered as the grade for second quarter, for material that was never taught. To date, no changes have been made in my son’s second quarter, falsely entered “F,” thereby ruining his cumulative grade point average.

At interim of this quarter, my son had a “B,” but I met to discuss what was actually being tested, since there was no requirement of material to be learned. How did he get the “B” and why were the changes not being mirrored for second quarter as discussed in the meeting with Kris Bray and Eric Bidwell? I was told that apparently, the district cannot legally require the teacher to enter those changes for second quarter.

Well, Mr. Gander, I want you and the rest of the school district to know that Franklin County School has been reported to the Office of the Inspector General, Investigative unit, for failure to comply with Department of Education rules and regulations regarding fraudulence. I have brought to your attention the fact that grades have been fraudulently entered, and yet they remain, with your knowledge, on the students’ records of FCHS. To have pushed it aside and not investigated it is illegal, and to have publicly tried to silence me was a mistake. Your lack of concern is evident.

Shame on you, Mr. Gander, and shame on those responsible for undermining the future of your county! These are YOUR young people, Mr. Gander, not mine. I work with them. I encourage them to stay in school. I truly love the kids who attend FCHS. But the disservice that has been given to them this year, and I suspect other years, is reprehensible.

I encourage the people of Franklin County to pay close attention when you go to the polls during the election of your school board. They are the ones who make the decisions that will directly affect your children.

I also have a stepdaughter who is severely disabled. Due to the district not properly training or offering training to the one-on-one aides, her IEP (individualized education program), for the most part has not been followed while we have been in Florida, unless outside personnel such as physical therapists or teachers for the hearing impaired are present. A physical day is imperative to her quality of life, and the muscular loss and loss in strength she has experienced in the past year and a half, will never be able to be regained. She has LOST entirely.

This summer we are moving back to Iowa. While we have met and worked with people we truly will miss, it is with great relief that my children will no longer attend FCHS.

A school system is run from within, but rules and regulations are enforced - or not - from the top down. You, as a district, as a school board, are ultimately responsible for your “D” rating, your 59 percent dropout rate, and your failure to comply with the Department of Education regarding fraudulence. You will be held accountable.


Lori Brownsworth