Surge of support arises for Brown

Published 12:13 am Monday, June 1, 2015

VIDALIA — A surge of support has gained traction, particularly in popular social media, for Vidalia High School Principal Rick Brown.

Brown, who has been principal at the high school for 17 years, is being transferred to Ferriday Lower Elementary, a move to which he objects.

Several Miss-Lou residents have created a Facebook page titled, “Support Rick Brown,” which garnered more than 800 likes in less than 24 hours.

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“It’s touching and I appreciate it,” Brown said. “It means a great deal to me, I just don’t know what to say.”

Brown was among several administrators in Concordia Parish who were reassigned recently by Concordia Parish School Board Superintendent Paul Nelson.

Brown’s supporters are holding a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Delta Bank in Vidalia for parents and students who are concerned with the transfer of Brown. Petitions will be available for signing.

Delana Tradewell Horn and Jeanie Ables helped lead efforts to create the Facebook page for Brown.

“We have been discussing this with some friends who are involved in the school system,” Horn said.

Horn’s two children, Trey and Brandi Tradewell, graduated from Vidalia High School under Brown’s leadership, for which Horn said she is grateful.

“Brandi was excellent, she didn’t get into much trouble,” Horn said. “But Trey was always in trouble, especially with cell phones.”

Horn said she would go to Vidalia High School and talk to Brown regarding Trey, who still was fond of Brown despite getting his phone being taken away several times.

Horn said on Facebook in reference to Brown “It’s easy to like your children’s principal when they are good students. When you have a child like Trey Tradewell and you still like him, that’s a testimony to what an amazing person you are.”

To which Trey replied with a simple “ouch.”

Within hours comments began to sweep the Facebook page to show support for Brown.

“If I knew anything about Facebook I would respond, but because I’m technology disabled I can’t,” Brown said.

Ables’ daughter, Meaghan Ables Ladner, who graduated from Vidalia High School in 2006 and served as a substitute teacher the following year, said Brown pointed her in the right direction during her senior year in high school.

Ladner was taking dual enrolment courses, an academic institution where high school students take college courses, which forced her to leave during her English 4 class.

The result caused her grades to drop in English 4.

“I was having a hard time keeping up with my classes and (Brown) made me aware and I was able to catch up on my work,” Ladner said. “I felt like he always had the back of the students, regardless of the situation.”

Ladner said Brown’s car could be seen at Vidalia High School on a regular basis.

“We felt like we were his kids, we were his responsibility,” Ladner said.

Ladner was one of Ables’ four children who attended Vidalia High School.

“(Brown) didn’t talk at you, he talked with you,” Ables said. “It’s sad that they want to pull this principal, who has been there for 17 years, and put him into a lower elementary school. I feel like the way it was done was unfair.”

Brown said he is currently considering several options as the summer continues.

He is due to report to Ferriday Lower Elementary today to begin preparations with the transfer, which is effective July 1.

Attempts to reach Nelson on Sunday were unsuccessful.