Open Letter to New LHS Team

Dear Mr. Ash, new administrators, faculty, and staff,

First, congratulations on your new jobs!  You have made some really great impressions somewhere in your educational careers to land the top job (and support jobs) at LHS.  Middle School Principal of the Year in 2009-10 is quite an accomplishment and we are very proud that a LaVergne school was recognized in such a positive way.

I was at the school on Monday night (the Blue Light Special) and really like the new paint in hallways.  I was unable to look around the rest of the school, but the smell of fresh paint was abundant.   I think the custodial crew must deserve some credit for that… good job everyone!

The “Blue Light Special” was a bit chaotic. I would have liked it better had it been spread out because crowds make me very very nervous and we had about 1000 people jammed onto the floor space of the gym.  For example, you could have had the juniors and seniors upstairs and the freshmen and sophomores on the main floor of the gym.  You did jump in about halfway through the evening to relieve some of the chaos by removing the seniors to the cafeteria, the juniors to the auditorium, and the sophomores to the second floor. Another suggestion is next time have the station signs hung above the stations rather than on the front of the tables. When the gym filled up, no one could read where the different stations were because the sea of bodies quite adequately blocked them.  Anyway, I’m glad you recognized the problem and addressed it.  Thank you for relieving that stress factor.

Meanwhile looking to the upcoming school year, you definitely have your work cut out for you.

I’ve heard about kids who make out (read between those lines… what you’re imagining is what I’ve heard happens) in the stairwells.  I’ve heard about kids who just trot over to another car and leave the campus in the mornings after being dropped off by their parents.  I’ve heard about the fights.  I’ve heard about bullies.  I’ve also heard about teachers who say one thing, then say another, and finally punish the students for being confused.  I’ve heard there are some really burnt-out teachers who no longer care and are just putting time in until retirement.

You have your work cut out for you.

I remember going to see a school play and seeing a mouse run across the stage.  There are cleanliness and rodent issues that you’re already addressing with your new staff.  I’ve heard about items being stolen from gym lockers after the kids dress-out and go to class.  You have students with anger issues.  You have students who are disrespectful.  You have students with a mile of attitude who have been raised to scorn education and intelligence.  It saddens me to see what could be good minds (perhaps the person who might have found the cure for cancer) wasted through learned ignorance and defiance.

I hate seeing underwear because kids have their pants drooped to their knees in the name of fashion.  Those are the things that distract other students, not a pink streak in the hair.  Hoodies?  I see nothing wrong with wearing them as long as they aren’t UP and hiding headphones.  I would rather see a UNIFORM for everyone than trying to navigate complex and silly dress code rules.  (The kids may not agreed, but still…)

Meanwhile, please remember there are a lot of GOOD students who also attend.  Sometimes these good kids make bad decisions and they should be held accountable.  But remember a lesson can be learned sometimes with just a simple talk with the principal or assistant principal.  Not every kid has to be suspended, expelled, or radically disciplined.  Recognize that punishment must fit the crime. Anytime a kid is removed from class for a minor reason (e.g., a tiny hole in their jeans) it’s an hour (or more) that the child loses in education.   We aren’t perfect as parents, you aren’t perfect as academicians, so let’s try to remember learning is the reason they are there… and WEIGH the value of education against a minor infraction.

Recognize that some of the kids who get in trouble may just need to see that an adult cares about them and their future.  Recognize that there are children who fall between the cracks and who could blossom with a kind word.  Yes, education should provide opportunities for everyone, but perhaps some of these kids have not been raised in an environment where learning is emphasized.  You can teach them that every decision they make today could impact their future.

If they act like they don’t care, bring in people to talk with them who have survived car wrecks, child abuse, neglect, parents in prison, and unmotivated lifestyles.  Show them they can make good decisions – to read a book, to turn off the cell phones, to carefully choose their friends.

You have your work cut out for you.  So meanwhile as a parent, I pledge to do what I can to help you, the teachers, the staff, and MY CHILD. The phone will be confiscated at 9:00 p.m.  There will be no TV or computer until homework is done.  If I get attitude, it will be corrected.  I will hear the teachers side of the story before I jump to conclusions and swear my angel did nothing wrong.

But listen to us, too.

We can survive high school by working together to support our children.  Are you in?  What else can we do to help?

Remember law is not always justice.

And,

Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.  ~Jonathan Swift, A Critical Essay upon the Faculties of the Mind, 1707

(Let’s catch the wasps and hornets at LHS!)

The more laws the more offenders.  ~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

(And let’s make the rules count… not silly!)

Finally,

They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.
— Anonymous

Good luck for the 2010-11 school year!

18 comments for “Open Letter to New LHS Team

  1. Angie Hassell
    July 27, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I completely agree with the above story. I too was there in the chaos of the "Blue Light Special" That was one of the worse unorganized situations i have ever delat with in a school setting. I have heard all the same stories as what was just explained. I do think LHS has serious problems and hope that Mr. Ash can handle all that is coming his way and will not get overwhelmed and will treay everyone fairly, cause there are some very good kids there that need attention as well as the ones that always caue problems. The teachers all need to so compassion for there students and there job or else they have no business being there. My child is a junior at LHS and there are a few theachers she has had throughout the years or will still be having that she loves. Just wished all teachers were like that. Again i wish you all the luck in everything this year.

  2. Anonymous #2
    July 27, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I APPLAUD YOU ANONYMOUS! You said it all and more. Same for you Angie. I totally agree with all the info. I would like to add that my daughter just called me upset and crying. She went to summer this year school to graduate a year early from high school however was told that she couldn’t participate in any of the Senior activities. What! Prior years the other kids did. My daughter has worked hard all her life. All honors and advance honors classes. What more can I say, but please change this rule. You want the kids to become something and to give back to their school. Not hate being an alumni. Also, blue light special was really crazy. I stood in line for 1 hr just to get an intial saying I didn’t want my daughter with a parking pass. It was just ridiculous! I know it wasn’t Mr. Ash fault, but this isn’t middle school this is high school. Things should be handle a little bit different. I have nothing more to say. Anonymous said it all. Thanks!

  3. A. Nonny Moose
    July 27, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    I heard Ash went in and fired a ton of teachers. Thank God! There were so many terrible teachers there it wasn't even funny.

    And it looks like they're finally checking where people actually live. All the hood rats from Antioch might have to go back to metro. See ya!

  4. Cee Dee
    July 27, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    This letter is very well written & I hope Mr. Ash and the teachers take note of all of it. Some rules are good, but others are ridiculous — totally. My grandson starts there this year & I'm holding my breath. I've heard absolutely awful things about the school. All 3 of my own graduated from LHS, but it was different then. Please teachers — treat the children right & demand the respect you should be shown & hopefully it will be an uneventful school year. Wish there were more J.J. McWilliams' in our high schools! Now there was a great principal.

    • Anonymous #2
      July 28, 2010 at 12:38 pm

      I agree CEE DEE!

  5. Katherine Kandy Pier
    July 27, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    I totally agree with all of the above statements. I like this one a lot
    "You have your work cut out for you. So meanwhile as a parent, I pledge to do what I can to help you, the teachers, the staff, and MY CHILD. The phone will be confiscated at 9:00 p.m. There will be no TV or computer until homework is done. If I get attitude, it will be corrected. I will hear the teachers side of the story before I jump to conclusions and swear my angel did nothing wrong."
    I have been a JROTC Mom for 7 years and plan to help for at least 2 more. Most of the cadets know all one has to do to get my help is ask for it. I would like to extend that invitation to the new administration and those that have direct or indirect contact with my son. High school should be remembered for the joyful times while being educated and not in fear of what may happen in the halls or parking lots. If we have actually managed to get those out of zone students removed from attendance I am very GRATEFUL!! I hope this is our best LHS year yet.

  6. mark
    July 27, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Mr Ash needs to start out being firm with staff and students. Take no bull from anyone. let those from metro go back to metro, i dont pay taxes for metro kids. I would have a 3 strike rule as well police the parking lot the halls be like big brother. make it clean the first day of school that you arent going to be putting up with the gangster and you will put them out or in jail!

  7. michaelinLV
    July 27, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    I saw the crowd over there on Monday night and was curious what was going on. What was "Blue Light Special?"

    • Ivy
      July 27, 2010 at 9:43 pm

      Oh, they had junk for 40% off. It was awesome.

    • Sherry
      July 28, 2010 at 11:30 am

      The kids (all 4 years) had to bring a parent and could then get their schedules, locker assignments and parking passes from 6 'til 8. It was an absolute cluster, and we gave up and went home. Ash decided to continue it thru the rest of the week. We went back yesterday and it took all of 10 minutes.

      • michaelinLV
        July 28, 2010 at 11:47 am

        Thanks Sherry; I didn't get Iv'y's sarcasm 🙂

  8. chris farmer
    July 27, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    This is my sons JR year as well and he has had the problem with teachers confusing him too. When I called to find out what we needed to do we were blew off. One year he didn't even have a book to do algebra 2 with at home for 3 months! I hope that things will be better because he loves LA Vergne and being in JROTC! We all want to be involved with our childrens future please let us know what we can do to help.

  9. Ronnie
    July 27, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    On the lighter side.
    One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a
    well. The animal cried piteously for hours as
    the farmer tried to figure out what to do.

    Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the
    well needed to be covered up anyway;
    it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

    He invited all his neighbors to come over and
    help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began
    to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the
    donkey realized what was happening and cried
    horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he
    quieted down.

    A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally
    looked down the well. He was astonished at what
    he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his
    back, the donkey was doing something amazing.
    He would shake it off and take a step up.

    As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel
    dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it
    off and take a step up.

    Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey
    stepped up over the edge of the well and
    happily trotted off!

    Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds
    of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well
    is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of
    our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out
    of the deepest wells just by not stopping,
    never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

    Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

    Free your heart from hatred – Forgive.

    Free your mind from worries – Most never happen.

    Live simply and appreciate what you have.

    Give more.

    Expect less

    NOW …………

    Enough of that . . . The donkey later came back,
    and bit the farmer who had tried to bury him.
    The gash from the bite got infected and
    the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock.

    MORAL FROM TODAY'S LESSON:

    When you do something wrong, and try to cover
    your ass, it always comes back to bite you.

  10. Sherry
    July 28, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Alot of the seniors are already ticked off. For some unknown reason, they (and I'm not even sure who "they" are) took all the prime parking spots out front and made that section for juniors only. The seniors all have to park out in East Egypt. Lord help me, it's gonna be a long year!

  11. Cricket123
    July 28, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    When I drove through the school parking lot, the "prime" spots were marked as "Visitor" spaces… excuse me, but who all do they think will be using "visitor" parking at the high school? Parents? Police? Perhaps a fund raiser for something???

    • Sherry
      July 28, 2010 at 9:49 pm

      Maybe "prime" was the wrong word. The juniors got all the spaces directly across from the visitors' spots in front of the events entrance and closest to the main entrance. I wondered why there were so many visitor spaces, too. Beats me!

  12. August 2, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    I'm sure a lesson was well learned by the administration this night. I don't think they anticipated such a huge turnout.

    surely to goodness next year's "Blue light special" will be better.

  13. Sonya
    September 28, 2010 at 7:14 am

    I love your statements. I would like to become more involved with the PTO and anything else because Mr. Ash has a very difficult task ahead. My son is a freshman and came from SCMS. I was hesitant about him attending until I heard the good things about Mr. Ash. After going to the football games I saw some very bad habits exhibited by some of the parents and students.There has to be a way to get the parents more involved in improving the school. t

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