Turning Point Academy students respond to teachers' concerns about them

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A video created by Turning Point Academy students was sent to WBTV. The video shows students rapping about their concerns of teachers approaching Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) board members in March about their safety at the school. Students didn't like that and responded with a video that was posted on YouTube. You can hear students rapping - "They say they are scared. They say they are scared of us."

Students say in March they opted out of class to have a peaceful protest about what was said about them to school board members. Staff told school board members they have been assaulted and are traumatized to come to work.

In the video students responded with a rap to teachers who they claim don't understand them.

"If you want to leave, leave - but you ain't got to lie on me - even the blind can see that you are even scared of me."

School board member Thelma Byers-Bailey represents the school. She says she saw the video and wrote this response:

"I feel disappointment that the video seems to mock the faculty for speaking their truth to power," CMS School Board Member Thelma Byers-Bailey said.  
"The students also have a right to speak their truth and I cannot dictate to them the manner and vehicle they choose to use;  however, differences of opinion are most productive when delivered with dignity and respect.  It is obvious that there needs to be a spirit of healing at Turning Point.  All concerned will need to come to the table with those in charge to make sure the student's needs are being met and the staff feel valued and effective.  I am looking to Dr. Wilcox and staff to find solutions to resolve the issues that have come to light at Turning Point."

Students say they have demanded an apology and didn't get one. They say they have issues with teachers and are blaming some of them for their shortcomings.

CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox recently visited the school. He says he will continue to work with the school to provide solid teaching and learning in a school that works for everyone on campus.

CMS is also responding to the video.

"CMS believes all students can achieve. The district welcomes the respectful voices of students, staff and leadership of Turning Point Academy and all schools where the school community is working to support student achievement in a safe environment with a focus on teaching and learning," CMS Chief Communications Officer Tracy Russ said.

Sources say the video was presented at a recent Turning Point Academy staff meeting.  Teachers were outraged and concerned since the principal and other teachers participated in the video, they believe their complaints will now be ignored and will cause a rift between teachers and students.

Byers-Bailey hopes things will get better at Turning Point Academy.

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