Warwick School Committee meeting turns shouting match
By: Rebecca Turco
WARWICK, R.I. – A Warwick School Committee meeting turned into a shouting match at times Tuesday night.
Hundreds of teachers and parents met at the Toll Gate High School auditorium, shouting their opposition and clapping their support.
"They have mismanaged the district to such a degree that education is suffering in Warwick," Darlene Netcoh, the Warwick Teachers’ Union president, told ABC6 News.
The teachers’ union recently voted they have no confidence in the superintendent and school committee chair.
Netcoh says this is the third school year teachers are working without a contract. She says there’s been no lucrative offer from the school committee; the superintendent claims the opposite.
Parents like Stephanie Shelton are upset with the district’s removal of the elementary guidance program, as part of 30 layoffs. Officials say the school system plans to replace them with social workers and psychologists.
Shelton’s son has anxiety. She says the elimination of the guidance program has made her son not want to go to school anymore. "I don't really have support to get him to school in the school system, so his teachers are helping out,” she told ABC6 News. “I came [to the school committee meeting] in hopes that maybe there's something that can change to help get him back into the school.”
Tuesday’s meeting comes just days after more than half the teachers at Pilgrim High School called out sick Friday, forcing the superintendent to cancel classes.