As a former Whiteville High School student and a current teacher in low-income schools, I am absolutely appalled at the comments posted on this public domain. It is unbelievable to read the contentious, vulgar allegations of parents and children alike about an issue completely based on emotions and heresy instead of facts. I have never seen so many grammatical errors and misspellings. Sadly, it is not your fault. Your education system has failed you and you are not equipped with the communication skills and writing ability to articulate your opinions. Perhaps most alarming is your inability to recognize the greater issue. It takes an entire community to raise a child and no man, regardless of what has or has not happened, can be reasonably expected to single-handedly turn an entire team of irresponsible, lazy, entitled, teenagers into first-class musicians. This event should not be cause for debate, nor should it infuriate members of a community who so desperately need to pull together for the common good of their children. Whiteville High School has always been more focused on extracurriculars and public image than academics. Ten years ago, star football players were handed a high school diploma and were reading on a third grade level. This is absolutely criminal and I am willing to bet the situation has not improved. Parents should go into the classrooms, spend a day alongside their students and see for themselves how poorly students behave and how impossible it is to teach or learn. Mastery of basic skills has been pushed aside to encourage excellence in other activities- as if to tell children, "grades don't matter! It's important to be popular, well-liked, and well-rounded!". The kids who succeeded then and now were the ones whose parents advocated for them and created the opportunities necessary to excel in life outside of Whiteville. Not all children are born into families with the means and support to provide equally and the educational inequity in Whiteville is the worst I have ever seen. Yet what we can all teach is moral values, accountability, and respect. Sports and band should be an earned opportunity for students who are committed to academic excellence, hard work, and personal growth- they are not a "right". Parents should support teachers and do all they can to insure their children have the manners and discipline necessary to contribute positively and succeed in the classroom. The culture of the school must change in order to attract and retain highly qualified, enthusiastic educators. I am grateful to a handful of dedicated, strict, intelligent Whiteville High School teachers who maintained the order and high expectations necessary for a successful learning environment. The Suzanne Blackmons and Sara Painters of that school made me into who I am today. Unfortunately those of us who managed to survive the system have lost almost all hope in reviving a school that, I am sorry to hear, continues to deteriorate.
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