Everitt Parents Meet With Superintendent McCalister

The segregation of students by gender continues at one local middle school, much to the disapproval of a handful of parents.

Some angry students and their parents met with Superintendent James McCalister to try and resolve the issue but his response didn't please them.

It's a co-ed campus, but these days Everitt Middle School looks more like a prep school for just one gender.

School administrators say rough housing and public displays of affection have gone too far, and separating the boys and girls on different sides of the courtyard before class solves that problem.

Students protested the separation, and some parents like Betty Lucas want a better solution.

"I don't think this is a good way to resolve it. I sit at Everitt in the mornings at least once a week. I see what they're doing. They're not fighting."

Lucas and a handful of other concerned parents showed up at Superintendent James McCalister's doorstep. They say mediation with Everitt's Principal, Linda Landen, has gone no where and they want answers.

But McCalister supports Principal Landen's decision, and he says this is not the first time a school administrator has separated boys and girls to solve behavioral problems.
"Merritt Brown separates their boys and girls at lunchtime. And I think even Everitt separates them at lunchtime too."

McCalister says he visited Everitt last Friday, and thought the separation worked to calm the students down.

But Lucas and other parents say McCalister doesn't have a handle on the situation.

"He does not know what's going on at Everitt. I don't think that's fair to the parents or students."

McCalister asked any concerned parents to join the meeting Monday afternoon, but only six parents showed up. He says that's a good indication that most parents agree with the principal's decision to separate the students.

McCalister says Principal Linda Landen plans to keep the boys and girls segregated until she believes the problems have been resolved.