More Than 200 Bibb Students Protest "Macon Miracle" | News
Bibb County students Thursday descended on the Board of Education Office to address their concerns over superintendent Romain Dallemand's plan to bring sweeping changed to the system.
School board administrators would not allow the protesters inside, but Risk Management Director David Gowan came out to the sidewalk to hear their concerns and act as a liaison.
The group was led by Tanner Pruitt and Brett Felty, both seniors at Central High School. The pair questioned Gowan, telling him they felt they were still being shut out.
They said they've been trying to get a meeting with the superintendent for a while, and didn't hear back until everything unfolded in the media. The pair said they still want to meet with Dallemand in person, and have been given no assurance that it will happen.
Gowan said the administration has been going into the schools on a regular basis and meeting with students and teachers, but Felty and Pruitt said they don't see that, and they still feel like the administration is disconnected.
Pruitt and Felty presented a document, listing parts of the plan they say concerned them most. Topping the list was a provision that would designate certain students to specific classes and a plan to realign schedules for longer school days.
Gowan told the students he would present their concerns to Superintendent Dallemand. He said Dallemand was not in the office this morning.
13WMAZ's Jennifer Moulliet asked Gowan if the board would make a decision on the plan Friday as scheduled. Gowan said, "I know we obviously have the event planned for tomorrow, but I don't think they've actually determined that yet."
Tanner Pruitt, one of the Bibb County seniors who organized the walk, told 13WMAZ that the turnout exceeded his expectations. He estimated the crowd at close to three hundred students.
Though no school board members were present this morning, Pruitt said Susan Sipe, Lynn Farmer and Gary Bechtel have all expressed support for their mission.
The students first met at Tattnall Square Park around 7 a.m., then car pooled to the Music Hall of Fame, and proceeded on foot to the Mulberry Street office.
Several parents joined the group with younger children. One mother said her child was scheduled to start school in the Bibb County system in the days ahead, but she told 13WMAZ she was reconsidering in light of debate over the plan.
After Gowan spoke, Pruitt and Felty addressed the crowd. They said they appreciated Gowan's time, but also said they had voiced their concerns before with no results.
They said it was frustrating because they have a voice and it is their education, and they feel like they are not being heard.
The crowd began to disintegrate after hearing from Gowan. The organizers were last to leave just before 10 a.m.