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Students speak out on school controversy

By Trina Trice

The school system's probation status was made official, when individual middle and high school principals received letters from the Georgia Secondary and Middle Schools Committee of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools recently.

"We're notifying them that their schools are individually on probation," said Terry Culifer, director of the Georgia Secondary and Middle Schools Committee of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

"One of the things we do (when a school system is placed on probation), is notify the individual schools, because that is where the actual continuation of accreditation is?with each individual school within the system."

SACS placed the school system on probation in June. An onsite inquiry team recommended the punishment after accusing some members of the school board for micromanaging the school system.

The school system has one year during which to make improvements, before probation is lifted.

The school system will educate more than 50,000 students in the upcoming 2003-2004 school year.

If the school system doesn't get off probation it faces the unpleasant prospect of students losing HOPE scholarships.

While Clayton County's rising juniors and seniors enjoy or work during the summer, they told the News Daily what they hope for in the upcoming school year, and how the school system's lost of its accreditation will affect their lives.

"The thought of trying hard my whole life, and just wanting to give up, but striving to graduate will mean nothing if our county loses its accreditation. It will all have been a waste of my time. I know I can make something of my life, but if we lose the accreditation and the HOPE scholarship I, as well as thousands of other students, will not have a good chance of being able to follow our dreams.

I just do not understand how the four board members can just do this to me, and the thousands of other students in Clayton County. If they would just stop, and think, how many students dreams they would be crushing. I cannot say that this would change their minds, it probably wouldn't. I do know though that if they step down, the system would have a chance to get off of probation, and I would have a much better chance of becoming someone important in the future.

"Thousands upon thousands of students would be affected by this, and me being one of them, I know I do not want to be one of them. I don't have a choice though, I don't have the money to move, all I could do is to move to New Hampshire and live with my father, or move in with my grandmother, but why should I have to go through all of this, when all that really needs to happen is for these four members to just step down, and the county could start improving things.

"Although the students had nothing to do with this, we are the ones who will have to suffer with the consequences, if this were to take place. The students futures will be affected, not the board members who are messing this all up for us, so they need to start thinking about us, not just themselves.

"With all of this said, I just hope that they will take the students' point of view into thought, because with all this happening we are the ones losing hope."

Christine Gendreau,

Rising Junior

"College is a big concern. I want everybody to get scholarships?keep the tradition going. I hope Lovejoy takes it to the dome, so that every one will go to college.

"I'm a little worried about (the school system being on probation). Right now, I'm just trying to play hard and keep my grades up. I'll let my parents worry about the school board ?cause there's not much I can do about it."

Richard Carter

Rising Senior

"I want to have fun and keep my focus (for the upcoming school year). I heard (losing accreditation) wasn't going to affect us. I heard after our year it'll go into effect.

"We've got a pretty good school. I think it'll be a pretty good year. I've got good grades. It'll eventually work out.

"My brother's coming up and I want to set a good example for him. I always strive to work hard.

"My mama would be mad if" if the school system lost its accreditation.

Dennis Thomas

Rising Senior

"Right now, I'm hoping we go to the dome and get a state championship, so that everybody gets a ring. I want to help my teammates go to college.

"(Losing accreditation) won't really affect me, I'll still have my fun, no matter what (the school board) does.

"But I'll be kind of mad (if the school system loses its accreditation). You know, I'm working hard, trying to do my best?I'd have to find a college that would accept me."

Santini Washington

Rising Senior

"It's all in God's hands. You can't do nothing but pray about it. If it does happen, I'll just work even harder to make sure I can get into college."

Mario Fannin

Rising Sophomore

Slug: Kidsview.Hall

Cutline:

"I want to take an Advanced Placement English class this year. I hope I'll do well; it'll be a challenge?

"Losing accreditation doesn't affect us. As long as I graduate this year (she's not going to worry)."

Daconti Hall

Rising Senior

Slug: Kidsview.Prez

Cutline:

"I hope I get into the college I want. I want to go to University of Georgia. I hope I do well my senior year and have a lot of fun.

"I'm a little worried (about the probation status and losing accreditation), but my dad's not worried. He doesn't think they would take it away from us.

"If they do do it, I'll just go to another school. It would suck, though."

Jenny Prez

Rising Senior

Slug: Kidsview.Clark

Cutline:

"I want to get mostly A's so I can bring my grade point average higher.

"(If the school system loses its accreditation), my parents said we're moving, definitely to Fayette County. They don't want that to happen to me.

" They (the school board members) need to get their act together."

Cheryl Clark

Rising Junior

"I hope to do good in my class and make friends and have fun this year.

"(If the school system's lost accreditation) does go in effect, I will be moving and going to another school."

Haley Harbin

Rising Junior