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Parents express opinions at TCS board meeting after former principal's forced resignation

Posted at 11:14 PM, Mar 27, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Following a former principal's forced resignation after some parents thought it was inappropriate for their 6th graders to see Michelangelo's statue of David during art class, parents at the Tallahassee Classical School expressed their opinions during the school's board of trustees meeting Monday.

Some parents are saying this incident has helped shed light on other issues with school leadership and are calling for the board chair to resign.

"This is not about the David statue or one act. This is a clear an ongoing problem that has been in place frankly since the doors opened in 2020," said Carrie Boyd.

Mom of two kids at Tallahassee Classical School, Carrie Boyd, is one of more than 50 parents and teachers that attended the board of trustees meeting to have their voices heard. She said she's experienced more concerning issues than just the recent events leading up to the resignation of former Principal Hope Carrasquilla.

That move comes after some parents said it was inappropriate for their child to see Michelangelo's statue of David during art class. Board Chair Barney Bishop said the school policy requiring parents to get a two weeks written notice informing them of any sensitive topics their child might be learning was not followed in this situation.

Bishop said this played a role in the former Principal's resignation after the board told her if she didn't step down, she would be fired.

"We can't. It's not appropriate to punish somebody if we didn't follow our own policy that is written down. It wasn't the Michelangelo picture, it was three things that happened after that, so it's a long list of things," said Bishop.

Now, parents like Boyd are speaking out about their concerns about the school board, including lack of communication.

"It's just a void of communication at this school and we have never really felt in the loop. We have never really gotten a lot of answers and so there really needs to be a prioritization of communication," said Boyd.

Boyd is not as concerned about the sculpture being shown without notice or the former principal resigning. She's more concerned about things like teacher recruitment and retention.

"Six or seven different teachers in 2.75 years. We've lost count. It may be six, it may be seven, but whatever it is we are more than two teachers a year at this point."

Bishop said it's always tough to recruit teachers that are trained in classical education but they're actively looking for more.

"We're also looking at recent graduates of Hillsdale College or Ava Maria University or the University of Dallas, all of which are classically trained educators so we're always looking for those," said Bishop.

Bishop said they currently have around 45 teachers at the school. In an effort to increase teacher retention, Bishop said they've raised the salaries of their teachers to match the salary of public school teachers.

However, Boyd believes more needs to change starting at the top.

"If this school has a fighting chance to succeed and live up to the wonderful values for which we all enrolled our children here, the board chair needs to resign," said Boyd.

Some teachers at Tallahassee Classical School did speak in support of Bishop at the meeting, but declined to talk to ABC 27.

Bishop's term as Board Chair ends in May. He said unless the board removes him earlier than that, he will finish out his term.