Cheatham Co. parents confront school board over teacher turnover - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Cheatham Co. parents confront school board over teacher turnover


Emotions boiled over in Cheatham County Monday evening as dozens of parents and students confronted the school board over the issue of why so many teachers are leaving.

There are 379 teachers in the district, and over the last year, a quarter of them have left.

One school lost half of its teachers this year, and many are frustrated at the high turnover.

Some are being fired and others are quitting, because - the parents say - the school employees are being bullied and micromanaged.

"I don't exactly know what's going on. All I know is there seems to be this air of fear with our teachers," said parent Tracy O'Neill.

"They want you constantly in fear of losing your job," said resigned teacher Chris Dawson.

When Channel 4 News asked Director of Schools Dr. Stan Curtis about Dawson's claims, he said consider the source.

Curtis said Dawson allegedly cursed at a school bus full of people from another school after a big game and made an inappropriate gesture toward an administrator on his last day.

"This is not about me. I'm simply the voice for a lot of people. The vast majority of teachers have felt this way. I'm human. I'm not perfect. Yes, I've made some mistakes. But I will add that my record here was exemplary for 7 1/2 years up until this spring," Dawson said.

Curtis points to higher teacher salaries at other districts and added, "Teachers need to enjoy their profession, but if they choose to resign, we hope they can find a place of employment where they can be fulfilled."

Beloved coaches are among those who are being pushed out. Parents say that is jeopardizing the future of kids hoping to get college sports scholarships and they believe it is decimating successful athletic programs.

"Shame on you for causing our boys and our girls this stress. You have set us back 10 years, and it will take decades to recover," O'Neill said.

The school board didn't address the concerns at the meeting, except to say their job isn't easy.

Afterward, Curtis refused to answer questions from reporters and was given an armed escort to the parking lot.

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