The agenda for Thursday evening’s Belmont-Redwood Shores school board meeting had to be rearranged at the last minute in order to accommodate the number of Ralston Middle School parents and teachers who came to address the district’s board of trustees about their decision to let Principal Scott Carson go at the end of the school year.
Citing the need for confidentiality in personnel matters, district officials have said only “that on March 7 2013, after careful consideration regarding the needs of Ralston Middle School, the Board of Trustees decided to make a change regarding the principal assigned to Ralston Middle School for the 2013-2014 school year," but that seems to have done little to placate those upset by news of Carson’s termination.
Many of those who spoke up Thursday heaped praise on Carson, and expressed feelings of surprise, confusion and disappointment towards the trustees' decision to not renew his contract for next year.
“No one saw this coming,” said Ralston Speech-Language Pathologist Ken Wrasse. “It was just a shock to all of us because everyone feels so trusting and empowered with him. Things are going so positively and constructively with him that we were just completely taken by surprise.”
A number of parents mentioned Carson’s skills in community outreach. Andrew and Lin Pham are active BRSSD parents, and Andrew currently sits on the Ralston School Site Council.
Lin said that Carson has played a key role in developing an open, positive relationship between the school and the community, and that above all, she’s looking for answers.
“He may have done something wrong, maybe there is a valid reason. We don’t want a bad person, but the school is obligated to have some level of transparency. They need to communicate and they have done an extremely poor job at public relations.”
Since it was announced that Carson would not be staying on as principal, Andrew said there’s been a loss of trust between parents and teachers and the school board.
“You can see the division between the teachers and the board, and I think that has to end. The trust is no longer here, and so we think that it’s a time to make a change, and the board needs to work with parents and teachers to make a strong community.”
It’s currently unclear whether or not the board will be addressing the issue any further in the weeks to come.
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