Dr. Hargens and Members of the Board,
I am the mother of M, a junior at the Academy@Shawnee who is also a member of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council.
When my daughter was in her final year of middle school at Highland Middle, I carefully considered all her options for high school, both in and out of JCPS. M was determined to attend Shawnee. She was certain she wanted to join the Aviation program, and begin the process of becoming a pilot.
After attending the Showcase of Schools that year and meeting some of the parents and teachers, then visiting the school and meeting Dr. Barber and more teachers, I agreed to let her go.
There have been so many great things that have happened in her life since M has been at Shawnee. In addition to aviation, she is in ROTC, plays basketball, tennis, is on the swim team, junior class president and more. In addition to being on the Superintendent’s council, she has been afforded many more leadership opportunities. We are grateful for each of these.
Her teachers are wonderful. It’s easy to see that Shawnee teachers are there because they care. We have felt that way from the beginning. While I feel they would do their very best to protect as well as instruct her, I am more than concerned about her safety.
There have been multiple fights this year, and I am scared. M tells me about the fights that she sees, many times she is up close for a full view. Although I am relieved she has never been in one of these altercations, I worry about her being caught up in “crossfire”.
Aside from being a distraction from learning, it is also very dangerous. The easy, comfortable feeling we had two and half years ago has turned into worry. There are so many great kids at Shawnee and they deserve so much more than what they have to endure. There are so many great things going on at Shawnee but if my child is not even safe, or if she or I don’t feel she is safe, I question why I let her stay.
I am sure that student safety is a top concern for all of JCPS’ leadership and I know the answers aren’t always easy ones. I just want to see a change at Shawnee. I want the school to flourish and live up to the legacy it proudly holds and for each student to have the opportunity to succeed.
Thank you for your attention,