About a dozen parents showed up to this week’s Cleburne ISD board meeting prepared to tell trustees about the problems they see on campuses.
Keith Ledwig, who will have a sophomore and junior at Cleburne High School this year, spoke for the group of parents who are calling themselves “Parents for a Better CISD.”
“There seems to be no accountability for anything that is happening in the high school,” Ledwig said. “The kids are coming to school out of dress code, wearing what they want. Running the school, running the classrooms.”
Trustees could not respond because such a discussion was not listed on the agenda. Superintendent Tim Miller responded via email about the discipline issues Ledwig addressed.
“The high school discipline data we shared at the end of the meeting supports the measures that we have taken to improve student discipline [percentage of violent or criminal incidents decreased by 24 percent], enforce the dress code [enforcement of dress code increased by 79 percent] and get students to the correct class on time [percentage of tardy students decreased by 10 percent].”
Ledwig said there is an issue with students skipping class either by hiding in the bathroom or going to classes that aren’t on their schedule.
“There are kids going to classes they don’t belong in, parents getting called,” he said. “This is going on unrecognized for five and six absences in a row. We want to know why this is being allowed.”
The Ledwigs, last year, said they put their home on the market and had intended to move to Grandview ISD, but decided to stay after they said Superintendent Tim Miller promised them things would change. At the time, the couple said they did not believe CISD administrators were doing enough to push their students and were spending too much time focused on troublemakers.
“I think we’ve got good plans, but I as superintendent am going to have to take a more active, ‘in your business’ kind of role,” Miller said at a town hall meeting last year. “I don’t want districts around us saying, ‘If we can’t take care of [discipline] here, send the kids down to Cleburne, they’ll deal with them there.’”
Tiffany Lordi-Ledwig said the Parents for a Better CISD have been meeting in small groups to talk about the changes they want to see happen in CISD. She said she is particularly concerned about student safety and security, based on a recent trip to the high school.
“My 73-year-old mother and I went to the high school and sat right in front of the principal’s office for 40 minutes,” she said. “We were visible the whole time. We did not see one adult the whole time we were there.”
Keith Ledwig said he did not understand how someone could sit outside the office for so long without being noticed or asked what they were doing.
“With all the crazy things going on in the world, the country, with high schools and movie theaters and everything else, what would keep someone from [bringing in a weapon]?” he asked. “There are kids going into the school, to their cars to get things and then coming back in. Maybe we are fortunate that we do not have a bunch of crazy people.”
As of press time Thursday, Parents for a Better CISD had not heard back from the district, Tiffany Lordi-Legwig said. She said she at least wants there to be more accountability for student actions.
“I’m throwing my own kid under the bus, calling the school and saying, ‘Do you know he is on Facebook in the bathroom?’” she said. “Last year, [Miller] said, ‘Take your house off the market,’ and here we are again.”
Miller said that to improve safety, the district is working on removing or replacing traditional locks on exterior doors and some interior doors with digital locks that can be programmed to allow students and employees to enter campuses at certain times.
“Access cards will be issued to employees and students as necessary to improve security at all campuses,” he said. “The district will also be modifying existing lobby area doors and installing additional doors to prevent people from accessing other parts of the building without permission. Both of these improvements are being funded from the from the bond election that was passed by voters in May.”
He also mentioned the parent survey which was shared with trustees on Monday.
“At CHS, the percentage of parents who agreed or strongly agreed that we had safe, healthy and nurturing schools increased from 49 percent to 63 percent,” Miller said. “We will continue to work with our faculty and staff to make improvements and communicate any changes tour students and parents. All students and parents have the opportunity to view the student handbook and other important documents online as well as request a printed copy.”