By Jessica Boone
Pittsboro, NC – The following email was sent by a concerned Chatham County mom with a child attending Chatham Grove Elementary school to the N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction, Cathrine Truitt.
Dear Superintendent Truitt,
I am writing this email with urgency, as my child is in first grade at Chatham Grove Elementary in Chatham County, NC. I feel his, his classmates and teachers’ safety have been compromised and immediate action must be taken. His original teacher, Ms. Amanda Velleco, resigned due to the constant harassment, distractions, safety concerns, and personal violations from a student in the classroom (“Child”). Her repeated cries for help were ignored for over six months by Superintendent Jackson, Dr. Savage (Principal) and the BOE. She spoke out at the February 14, 2022 BOE meeting with no follow up by Administration.
Ms. Velleco then went to HR and told her story and spoke with a local news outlet due to her desperate concerns for the safety of the students and teachers in that classroom. It wasn’t until the story became public months later that the administration placed an Aide in the classroom to “watch the Child” N&O article
Then, a few weeks ago, our school had a “soft lockdown” prior to dismissal due to an apparent threat this Child made to one of the teachers.
Last Friday, April 8, 2022, the Child cut the aide’s hair during class in front of her classmates. She was merely escorted back to her seat by the Assistant Principal. Not only has this Child not been removed, suspended or forced to ‘restorative circles’ in accordance with bullying and harassment rules, she only ‘lost recess’ after that aide reported the incident and declared her concern and discomfort with this student. Our teachers have been told to handle the situation and are not getting support. This is only one example of situations happening in that room, that the new teacher (teacher number 3) has been asked to “handle”.
According to the NC law (and common sense), these events constitute assault and clearly it is not a safe classroom. Even with two adults in a classroom of 15 students, this child wielded scissors in a way that could have resulted in far greater injury. What else is happening in this classroom of which we are not being informed? The administration has never informed our families of these events/concerns. The parents are actively seeking information now as we are greatly concerned for both the safety of our children and teachers. Not an email or phone call has come after these defining situations, we are left hoping our children share their “normal” what has become everyday occurrences with us.
IMMEDIATELY, a resource officer needs to be in that classroom to monitor the safety of every child and teacher, or that child needs to be removed.
The school has known of these issues with this Child for 3 years (Pre-K through 1st), and nothing has been done. This Child was in my son’s Pre-K class at Perry Harrison and I sat in on meetings with the Principal (Amy Doty) about the teachers’ fears and concerns over the Child’s actions in the classroom. Nothing was done. In 1st grade, the Child refused to wear a mask during the mask-mandate timeframe. and repeatedly spit on her teacher (Ms. Morgan, who has resigned as well). Yet, the child remained in the classroom.
Enough is enough, when will you finally do something? Will it take someone getting injured, a child being cut or stabbed by scissors (that are clearly used in the room), another child being assaulted or touched inappropriately?
I spoke with Dr. Savage at 8:30pm last night and told him how unsafe my child’s classroom is and the education is FAILING in that class. Per Dr. Savage, they “are doing their best”. My child, the teachers and the other children in that room are not safe and I won’t let these endless “mishaps”, or as Dr. Savage called it last night “normal classroom occurrences”, continue which are causing emotional and physical harm to everyone there.
I have written Superintendent Jackson three emails about this issue and have not received a reply. What will it take for a response or action from that office?
I will not apologize for being relentless. And I don’t care that I am now labeled as “one of those parents” when it comes to the safety and well-being of our children. We don’t get “do-overs”, so I propose we fix this out of control situation immediately or the parents will be forced to take legal action to avoid greater harm and injury.
I must know that when I say goodbye to my kids in the morning they are heading to a safe place where learning is being cultivated.
Please respond ASAP on next steps and a plan of action.
The original email went to the following public officials
To: “” <>
Cc: “” <>, Amanda Hartness <>, David Hamm <>, Gary Leonard <>, Del Turner <>, Melissa Hlavac <>, Jane Allen Wilson <>, Janice Frazier <>, Larry Savage <>, The United States House of Representatives <>, “” <>, “” <>