A3 parents speak out at meeting

Some parents said the students are being punished for the acts of one man.

Posted: Apr. 4, 2018 12:07 AM
Updated: Apr. 4, 2018 3:25 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Nearly a hundred parents gathered at the Academy of Arts and Academics to voice their concerns in the wake of a sexual abuse scandal which cost the high school its charter.

The listening session was moderated by independent monitors brought in by the Springfield School District which is taking over the school next year.

Officials say they want to maintain the current arts-based programming but many parents are concerned that the curriculum will drastically change. They also wondered if colleges and universities will accept A3 students if the academy is labed an "alternative school."

Many parents said the district's move to take control of the school would punish children, even though they did nothing wrong. The move follows the suicide of former principal Michael Fisher, who was accused of sexually abusing a former student beginning in 2006.

The vice principal of the school, Ed Mendelssohn, resigned in March after accusations that he dismissed a separate allegation against Fisher involving students. Mendelsshohn denies any wrongdoing.

One parent KEZI 9 News spoke with on Tuesday said the school board's actions to dissolve the charter were wrong.

"She came to me when all of this happened and said, 'If I have to go back to Thurston I will kill myself,'" Angelina Chunn, the mother of an A3 junior, said. "I am going to fight for this school. I'm fighting for my kid's life and I'm sure my child's not the only one that has said those words to their parents. This school is worth fighting for and what the board has done is wrong."

Tuesday night's session was for parents only, but students will have their voices heard during listening sessions on Wednesday and Thursday during school hours.

The Springfield school board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday.

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