P.T.A. Letter Sparks Controversy - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson 9/21/06

P.T.A. Letter Sparks Controversy

By David Kenney
david@wlbt.net 

A survey handed out to parents of students at Lester elementary in Jackson, has sparked some controversy. The letter was written by the p-t-a, designed to encourage their involvement in the school. 

At the first parent teacher conference, the P.T.A. handed out the survey, telling parents where they could be used as volunteers. It was the last option on the page that has some up in arms. A line that read, "No, I do not want to get involved. I want my children to be thieves, drug addicts and prostitutes."

The survey was written by P.T.A. president, Dr. David Gatlin who says, "We want people to understand that if they really care about their children, they will get involved in their children's lives and set the proper example for their children."

Gatlin says he didn't mean to offend anybody, but doesn't see anything wrong with the language he used, meant to grab people's attention.

Gatlin say, "No you don't want child to be a thief, prostitute or drug addict but many people do want it by the way they live their lives."

As soon as the surveys were discovered, they were immediately collected by principal Dr. Douglas Scott.

Scott says, "I think the point could have been made in a more effective manner.  I've had one parent who has called me with concern."

School administrators say they won't let it happen again. All letters to parents, now must be reviewed by the principal, before they're handed out. Members of the P.T.A. stand by their actions, and hope it makes parents put their childrens education first.

Gatlin says, "If your childrens (are) not a priority, then your children (will be) messed up."

The survey at Lester Elementary also included attached information on how parent involvement could help in the success of their children.  P.T.A. members say the comment in question was included to also encourage parents to view, and act upon that information.

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