Local News

WRAL Investigates Looks Into Transfer Policy At Wilson Charter School

Posted February 9, 2005

— Public schools can deny students who have been convicted, expelled or suspended, but there is a policy affecting all transfers from one Wilson County school. The state questions the legal basis of the policy, but the school system says it is just holding the charter school accountable.

When Wilson County Schools banned transfer students from Sallie B. Howard School for the Arts & Education, parents wanted to know why.

"The public schools, I feel, didn't really like Sallie B. Howard since they opened. That's just my opinion," parent Ashli Holden said.

Wilson County schools said the problem is much more complicated.

"The charter school has a history of discarding students who underachieve and do demonstrate poor behavior," said Bob Kendall, spokesman for Wilson County schools.

Kendall said some of the behavior problems are questionable. Kendall showed WRAL some discipline reports that children brought from the charter. One report said a student stepped on another student's heel. The comments recommend that the student withdraw.

"A school district has no authority to recommend to you as a parent that you withdraw your student," he said.

Kendall said the school system is setting boundaries with the charter school, which is also a public school, by only accepting transfers in the fall.

"This is not a Donald Trump exercise where you're fired," Kendall said. "If those documents had been a recommendation from this school system, I would expect an investigation."

Officials with Sallie B. Howard Charter School would not comment, but former parents from that school have something to say. Otressia Sherrod moved her two children into Wilson County schools last January and feels other parents should continue to have the same opportunity.

"I don't think that's fair to the children not to be able to move," she said.

The chairman of the Wilson County School Board said his board never voted on the policy, but he supports the superintendent. The chairman of the State Board of Education was in Washington D.C. Wednesday, but tells WRAL that he has serious concerns about the entire situation and feels the state has an obligation to look into it.

Wilson County schools said the transfer policy is not related to a

testing investigation

at the charter school where end-of-grade test answers were changed.

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