Is Supt. Barbara Thompson Responsible for Problems in Montgomery Public Schools?


By Ashley Thompson

The State Board of Education is continuing its expanded investigation into grade changing at Montgomery Public Schools. A support rally was recently held for Superintendent Barbara Thompson but that isn't stopping some from holding her responsible.

It was just weeks ago, that Montgomery Public School board members were celebrating the start of another school year at their annual back-to-school breakfast. Spirits were high and talk of grade changing within the school system appeared to have died down.

So how did we go from Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange proposing the idea of a starting a city school system?

"We'd be a city school system," Strange says. "That way, you'd have a new board, you'd have a new administration."

Montgomery Public Schools board member Melissa Snowden says things went south on the first day of classes.

"The first day of school, apparently the superintendent Thompson received a latter from Dr. Bice, the state superintendent."

That letter revealed that additional MPS staff members were involved in grade changing.

"They were saying that they are continuing the investigations with the grade changes," Snwoden explains.

As the investigation continues, other school board members are speaking out. Mary Briers called into The Capitol Buzz with Mark Montiel on Newsradio 1440 to talk about the investigation and Superintendent Barbara Thompson.

"Has Barbara Thompson not completed the task she was hired for and you should replace her?" asks Montiel. 

"I didn't say we should replace her but if things turn out that way, so be it," Briers answers.

So, should the superintendent be held responsible? Parents appear to be split. David Rasnick tells us he does believe the blame lies with Thompson.

"It's the chain of command," he says. "Ssomeones' got to be giving these orders."

But others say she shouldn't be held responsible.

"She's not going in each individual classroom in every school in Montgomery and changing each individual student's grades," says Cassie Williams. "The teachers are responsible for that."

Board Member Durden Dean says the board is ready to discipline all teachers involved.

"We'll identify those bad apples," he says. "We'll remove them."

Though Snowden says the board isn't afraid to remove just teachers.

"I don't think that any of us are afraid. If there need to be people removed from their positions, I do not think that we will not do that. I think we will do that but nobody's guilty until they're proven guilty."

All board members we spoke with say they want the investigation finished and findings revealed before any disciplinary action is taken.



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