Parents, youths speak out on school principal

March 13, 1998|By Erin Texeira | Erin Texeira,SUN STAFF

Parents and students at Columbia's Wilde Lake High School came before the Howard school board last night to speak their minds -- at times loudly and angrily -- about the school's embattled principal.

About half who spoke expressed support for Wilde Lake Principal Roger Plunkett, but others said that his actions have divided the school community.

"What is happening today at Wilde Lake High disturbs me greatly ," said Victoria Cofield-Aber, whose daughter is a senior at the school. "Today, I see a breakdown in trust. The climate in the building has become uncomfortable for many who cross the threshold."

Last night after testifying, Cofield-Aber marched back and forth several times in front of school board members and school officials carrying a poster: "Democracy Yes! Reprisals No!" it said.

In recent weeks, Plunkett has come under fire for changing a class schedule that allows students unusual flexibility and, critics say, gives them an opportunity to shirk schoolwork.

The controversy quickly escalated as some complained that Plunkett had made the changes with no input from the community and punished students and teachers who opposed him.

Three popular teachers who spoke out at meetings were recommended for involuntary transfers to other schools.

Plunkett was not at last night's session, but has denied the charges.

He has said that the class schedules will be finalized only with collaboration from his staff and that the transfers were unrelated to the teachers' statements.

Pub Date: 3/13/98

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