Article Comment 

Survey: Majority of Lowndes students feels unsafe on campus


Carmen K. Sisson



The Lowndes County Board of Education met Friday morning at the central office, hearing a presentation by Brandy Gardner, coordinator for the Safe & Drug-Free Schools program.  


Gardner told the board that according to anonymous surveys, less than 60 percent of students at West Lowndes Middle School, New Hope Middle School, and Caledonia High School report feeling safe on campus.  


Approximately 2,139 students in grades six through 11 were asked questions ranging from how many times they''ve been threatened on school property to how often they drink or smoke. 


The survey used SmartTrack technology, which is an anonymous, Internet-based data collection method used to measure students on substance abuse and safety issues.  


Nearly 90 percent of students district-wide said they had never been threatened or injured with a weapon while on campus.  


However, roughly 20 percent of all Caledonia High School students reported experimenting with beer and cigarettes, and more than 12 percent have tried marijuana. Of those students admitting experience with alcohol and tobacco, most reported trying it for the first time between the ages of 11 and 14.  


In other news, the board approved a number of personnel changes.  


Robin Ballard, assistant principal of New Hope Elementary, has resigned. Resigning from New Hope High School are cross country coach Justin Putnam, varsity cheerleader sponsor Robin Cregeen, and English teacher Monica Woolbright. Caledonia Elementary assistant teacher Derenda Abels has also resigned.  


The board also held a lengthy executive session, taking action on student matters but taking no action on a pending litigation.  


Lowndes County Schools Superintendent Mike Halford refused to discuss whether or not disciplinary action has been taken or is being planned against an employee at New Hope High School who allegedly released two minors into the custody of a woman without the parents'' permission last week.  


The woman, Christy McGough of 1153 Lake Lowndes Road, was charged late Thursday with two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She now faces two counts of statutory rape.


Carmen K. Sisson is the former news editor at The Dispatch.



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Reader Comments

Article Comment kj commented at 5/16/2011 11:25:00 AM:

This makes zero sense as presented. What does how often they drink or smoke necessarily have to do with whether or not they feel safe on campus? Not to mention that "less than 60%" inadequately defines a majority.


Article Comment concernedparentof2 commented at 5/17/2011 6:22:00 AM:

I'm not sure what board meeting this reporter was sitting at, but this is definitely not the feeling I got from the presentation made by Ms. Gardner. Where is the mention that the number of fights and other disciplinary issues actually decreased? I also remember the numbers quite differently than presented in this article.

Also, what about the positive information presented during the session? The district named their Administrator, Parent and Teacher of the year plus recognized the nominees and the teachers who achieved the prestigious National Board Certification. Where is this information? I believe the Dispatch has a vendetta against the Lowndes County School District and only wishes to print the negatives.


Article Comment momofthree commented at 5/17/2011 7:10:00 AM:

Why have so many people resigned?


Article Comment blondemommy commented at 5/17/2011 8:46:00 AM:

Thats what I want to know momofthree!!!


Article Comment insanity commented at 5/17/2011 9:10:00 AM:

Probably trying to scare people into thinking the city schools are the better choice. Sounds like they're trying to portray this to the ones who have left the city schools or to the base parents so they'll come back to city schools. Notice there is no article of the same topic pertaining to city schools. They've lost Del, they've lost students, now portray all negative about the county schools so that they are not presented as the better choice.


Article Comment concernedparentof2 commented at 5/17/2011 9:43:00 AM:

You are required to tender a letter of resignation any time you change jobs. It's normal at the end of the year for there to be several letters of resignation as teachers move to other schools or even other jobs within the same school district.


Article Comment roscoe p. coltrain commented at 5/17/2011 9:04:00 PM:

So you think you have a conspiracy afoot because they asked how you smoke or drink along with safety concerns on campus? Really?

It's apples and oranges hillbilly. They asked safety questions, and then they asked personal habit questions. The only people who seem to be trying to tie the two unrelated questions together is, well, like Ron White said: you can't fix stupid.


Article Comment kj commented at 5/18/2011 9:43:00 AM:

I don't think there's a conspiracy afoot...I just think the reporting doesn't support the headline.


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