First-grade ‘protesters’ seek to have their teacher back at Vidalia Lower

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 10, 2004

VIDALIA, La. &045; There were protest signs at the Concordia Parish School Board meeting Tuesday night.

But the protesters, first graders at Vidalia Lower Elementary School, were peaceful. The students were there to ask for their teacher back.

Gay Cross is in a wheelchair after falling and breaking her ankle in three places, parent Renee Cooley said. Without a written statement from Cross’s doctor the school cannot allow her in the classroom for liability reasons.

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&uot;We want her back, too,&uot; Superintendent Kerry Laster told the group of about 10 students and parents. &uot;I want very badly for her to be back, all we need is some statement from a doctor.&uot;

Students and parents asked if Cross could come in on a voluntary basis to help the students prepare for upcoming Iowa tests.

&uot;She has offered to pay the gas and take the time even though this is going to be difficult,&uot; parent Melissa Kunkle said. &uot;She wants to help out for tests.&uot;

Board President Lynn White said he thought Cross would be back in the classroom very soon.

Board members also discussed the position of assistant superintendent at the meeting. Board member Raymond Riley asked that the board take action to establish the procedure used to fill the position. Currently there is no board policy regarding whether the position must be advertised or can be appointed. There has been no assistant superintendent in recent years, but the position has remained in existence.

The board agreed to table the decision until the next meeting in order to get more information. Riley said he wanted the matter addressed immediately.

&uot;I don’t want us to be next March getting an assistant superintendent,&uot; Riley said. &uot;I’m not satisfied with the motion. I think next month we need to come back here rock solid and ready to do something.&uot;

The board also heard a request from a parent to have her child admitted to the Alternative Center. The child was expelled from school in another parish and is currently enrolled in Concordia Parish Drug Court.

The board decided to contact the court to review the student’s situation before making a decision in the case.