Meet and greet

The meeting was packed.  Of the 850 students at Fluvanna County Middle School, at least a quarter of their parents were present.  While Farquharson’s explanations calmed down some parents, others questioned her validity.

Farquharson allegedly yelled at students on the first day of school (Aug. 12) and denied them opportunities to use the bathroom, the microwave in the cafeteria, or go to recess.  She believes that these claims were misconstrued.

During the meet and greet, she gave an example of how she talked to students – raising her voice to what she described as a “level five” and reminding kids of the new safety procedures established by a committee that was before her time.  One of the procedures included walking on the right hand side of the hallway.

One parent stood up and questioned Farquharson’s demonstration.

meet and greet

“200 kids would not be upset about that,” said the parent.  The meeting devolved into a muddle of parents talking out of turn about what should be done.

“It seems to me you flunked a class in respect,” one father said from the back toward Dr. Farquharson.  Another parent blamed the district for a lack of consistency and routine among Fluvanna school buildings.

“Fluvanna schools keep changing every year.  How does my eighth grader know what to expect in a new building, when she’s been in three different buildings in the last three years?” said the mother.

At one point, Lynn Jenkins, the sixth grade school counselor, stood up and said that after the frenzy on social media following Monday’s first day of school, she decided to spend Tuesday interviewing as many of her students as she could about the situation.

“I interviewed 120 children on Tuesday,” said Jenkins.  “One hundred percent said, ‘yeah, it was a little rough, but it’s fine now.  I’m more worried about my momma because she won’t stop talking about it.’”

Farquharson stands by her decision to limit bathroom trips and microwave usage.

“Students are not allowed to use the restrooms for the first ten minutes and last ten minutes of class,” said Farquharson, who defended this position for the sake of a cohesive lesson plan.  “If you skip the first chapter of the book and the last chapter of the book, then you might as well not read the book.”

Farquharson had never seen a microwave in a middle school cafeteria before, and also believed that the microwave was a safety concern, with the potential for broken glass and scalding food.  She agreed that students could continue to use the microwave, but only while under supervision.

Upon initial investigation, many began to assume that Farquharson’s behavior may have been a pattern.  A June of 2012 story from Richmond’s ABC affiliate, WRIC, described a difficult relationship between Farquharson and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at Peabody Middle School in Petersburg City, as well as allegations of student mistreatment.  Farquharson was quick to clarify the details of that story.

“The President of the PTA wanted a spring formal during the SOL testing period.  I could not approve that, and it was not approved at the superintendent level either,” said Farquharson.  “This woman didn’t take it well.”

Farquharson went on to describe how WRIC’s news story was misleading.  The video footage made it appear that all of the parents present at the Petersburg City School Board meeting in June of 2012 were against Farquharson, when only four were.  The reporter who mischaracterized the story has since apologized.

“Some have asked, ‘did you do your research?” said Farquharson of the Fluvanna County School system.  “Absolutely they did their research.  [Assistant Superintendent] Winkler Googled me and found the same story everyone did and asked those questions.  They called people I worked with in the past – even people I didn’t put on my reference list.”

Farquharson also clarified that she was not fired from Peabody Middle School, she resigned because of the politics.

Fluvanna Public Schools Superintendent Gena Keller spent most of the meeting trying to handle parents’ emotions and remind the crowd to stay solution-focused.

“The first day of school is not what I would have expected.  I’m not standing here telling you that was a good way to start the year.  As a mom, I would have called too,” said Keller.  “The first thing Dr. Farquharson said to me was, ‘I can’t give that back and I am devastated.’  Things happen, and what is important is how we respond to them.”  Keller further challenged parents to “roll up their sleeves and help make the school even better.”

Fluvanna Middle School’s first Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) meeting is on Tuesday (Aug. 20) at 6:30 p.m.

Related Posts

dewi88 cuanslot dragon77 cuan138 enterslots rajacuan megahoki88 ajaib88 warung168 fit188 pusatwin pusatwin slot tambang88 mahkota88 slot99 emas138