We cannot fail our children, now or ever - DOUG LOZEL

To the editor:

Nearly three months ago, you published a letter (June 3, 2008) that I wrote concerning the crisis that was evolving within the Clayton County Public Schools. I would like to respond again with what happened on Aug. 28, when the SACS committee revealed their findings on the school system's accreditation.

After 32 years of service to the Clayton County School System, I recently retired as the Assistant Principal at Haynie Elementary School. I find it unconscionable that our system has lost its accreditation. Ours is the first system in almost forty years to lose its accreditation. When I first started my tenure in 1976, the school system was rated one of the top-ten districts in the state. How have we become the shame of our county, state and country? Let me tell you how.

In the last four years, the citizens of Clayton County have elected school board members who were not qualified to lead a district of our size. They were given powers they could not handle and they abused them to no end. Most board members, excluding Eddie White and David Ashe, forgot the main purpose why they were elected (to serve our system for the betterment of our students). They had their own agendas and ignored everything and everyone.

It disgusts me that Gov. Sonny Perue had to mandate an executive order to remove the "Big Four" women who claimed they did nothing wrong. All those women owe the students in our system a verbal and written apology in the News Daily for the travesty they infected on our district. It is my wish that they never hold a public office again. What they did might haunt our system and citizens for many years to come.

Dr. John Trotter and his MACE organization was another major problem to our system. They need to be banished from ever having anything to do with our system. They are a viral infection. Everything they do is negative. Nothing good ever comes from anything they do. They are hateful to many good educators. Hopefully, the new board members will have nothing to do with this group, as their predecessors did. Look what happened when those board members got involved with MACE.

Dr. John Thompson needs to be relieved of his duties immediately. The board hired him even after consultants said, "DO NOT HIRE." He came here promising us our accreditation would not be revoked, and look what happened. All talk and no action. Only one of nine mandates met. What a joke. If he were a baseball player, his butt would be on the bench for non-performance.

Let's have a nation-wide search and hire someone who can lead us out of this terrible nightmare. Dr. Thompson, his salary and his pompous attitude need to go as soon as possible. We will continue to fail under his leadership. He had his chance and failed all of us.

Who will want to move to Clayton County now? Plain and simple, NO ONE. What businesses are going to start or relocate here when the school system is not accredited? NO ONE. Who will be able to sell their homes. NO ONE?

My biggest concern, though, is what will happen to our students now that accreditation is lost. Students were the main priority in all of this and this board failed them. We have elected new board members, and it is my hope that they conduct themselves with the utmost professionalism and help get us out of this quandary we are now in.

Luckily, Pre-K funding will not be revoked this year. HOPE scholarships will not be revoked this year, but what will happen in the future? These students are our future. They deserve the best that life has to offer, and it is our responsibility as adults to make sure that they get what they need to be productive citizens. We can not fail them now, or ever.

DOUG LOZEL Jonesboro