Local News

Schools Look At Ways To Resolve Conflicts With Disruptive Parents

Posted April 30, 2004 5:10 a.m. EDT

— After parents were arrested this week in three separate school-related incidents, school officials try to toe the line in resolving conflicts with frustrated parents.

Following a heated discussion about a suspended Carnage Middle School student, Principal Jason Burt said a parent tried to run him over in her car. Frances Mae Smith, who also goes by Frances Thomas, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault on a government official.

In Johnston County, Charles Roden faces charges of disorderly conduct after an argument with teachers at Corinth Holders School. In Robeson County, a mother was charged after threatening a teacher who disciplined her child.

"When you talk about disruptive parents, it's a small, small fraction," said Michael Evans, spokesman for Wake County Public Schools.

Evans said problem parents are sometimes dealt with as security risks. A security camera bought through a Safe Schools grant caught the Carnage incident on tape.

"We feel we have the infrastructure in place through security and safety programs as well as training in place for our people to manage it through," Evans said.

Wake school records show 62 parents currently have restricted or no access to schools and buses because of disruptions. Another 19 parents were warned about trespassing.

School leaders said that is a small number considering Wake County educates more than 100,000 public school students. They want parents to get involved, but they hope they will air their grievances through proper channels.

"Ultimately, we're trying to set good examples for all of our children, and there's a system in place to help you do that," Evans said.

School leaders said parents have formal options to air their complaints without getting disruptive. No one was hurt in any of the three school incidents this week. WRAL was unable to get comments from the accused parents.