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East County Wednesday, Jun. 8, 2011 6 years ago



+ McNeal article a smear campaign
Dear Editor:

I cannot even begin to explain how disappointed I am that our community paper, that I have always looked forward to reading, would place a smear article against a local principal. Never mind that the article in itself is unfounded and came from an “anonymous” source, the fact that you would choose to place this as a front-page article is disheartening.

I feel that you did not take the time to fully investigate this claim from the “concerned parent” or to speak with the other 650-plus parents who did not sign this petition. I do not understand how this can even be a story if the Manatee County School District supports Norma Scott and her actions. It really feels as if the East County Observer was trying to incite outrage by publishing this article.

If you wanted to bash local principals and how they are doing in their schools, why wasn’t Imagine School of Lakewood Ranch’s Principal Stephen Sajewski front-page news when he was arrested for DUI in March? Wouldn’t the fact that he was arrested and not reprimanded be a better front-page story if you are in the business of angering the community?

Scott has been a great asset to McNeal Elementary. Our school is a place where parents, younger siblings and extended family are welcomed to all events; this was not the case under the former principal, Ronna Moore. I have been at McNeal since it opened in 2003, and I have loved this school since the first day it opened. I have seen amazing improvements with Scott as principal. My children love to go to school, and none of us has ever felt that teachers or staff were “in fear” there.

I was surprised that you would list the 13 staff members and the reason for leaving McNeal. A few of those staff members left for personal reasons, one of them for medical concerns. Did it occur to you that they may not want their names and status published for all to see and question? What about the new schools that the teachers transferred to? Now these school’s parents may feel that their teacher was forced to be at that new school? What was the purpose of listing these people who left McNeal? I also have to wonder why the names of the 21 parents were not published alongside these 13 staff members, if you are going to call these staff members out into the open, wouldn’t you do the same for the people that signed the petition?

Our school enrollment has increased 25% in the last two years; kindergarten enrollment increased 54% since last year. What other school can say this? The word is out that McNeal is a great school, with amazing staff & teachers and we are led by a wonderful principal. Why would The Observer try to dampen this success with the anonymous letter signed by a mere 21 parents in a school of 700 students?
Melanie Conerly
Lakewood Ranch


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