Wilson Co. school board meeting turns into shouting match - WSMV Channel 4

Wilson Co. school board meeting turns into shouting match

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LEBANON, TN (WSMV) -

The battle over middle schools in Wilson County reached a boiling point Saturday.

Hundreds of parents sounded off as school officials met to discuss what to do about the district's K-8 schools.

"We're here trying to do what's best for our children," one school board member argued.

One parent in the audience fired back, "We're a community, we're part of the process."

From the moment today's public meeting was called into session, tempers were flaring.

Another parent yelled, "If it was such a good idea, why'd we build the new high school? Why didn't we renovate then?"

Wilson County's school board held a work session at the old Lebanon High School on Saturday, and hundreds of angry parents packed the auditorium. The big issue on the table was whether to separate the district's K-8 schools into separate middle schools.

"We've been doing the K-8 process up here for a long time and it's worked for us. And we have community schools and I think community schools are the best because the parents participate the kids know each other," grandparent Judy Wright said.

But that question sparked a whole other debate. If the district does separate the schools, officials are considering the old Lebanon High campus as a possible location. And for a lot of folks in the audience, the answer was a resounding no.

Eric Wilcox has a daughter in the seventh grade. He argued, "If it wasn't habitable then and they needed to build a new high school then what makes it better now for younger kids?"

"I know they've done some things to this school but there's just some improvements that you can't do," Wright said.

School board members say they understand parents' concerns, but stress students wouldn't be put at risk.

"We're talking about using only the two latest editions to that 1995 and 1985... While it would not today work for a high school because of the oldest and maybe unusable or irreparable sections it would work by fire laws work as a middle school," Ron Britt Vice Chairman of the Board said.

"We cannot forsake our children's health for a budgetary issue," warned But Wilcox.

Right now the board is looking at which curriculum, middle school or K-8, will better prepare students for college and the workforce. Parents said they just want to make sure they're kept in the loop and that no decisions are made without their input. The board plans to hold another meeting at a later date.

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