Walker County school leaders facing criticism from parents over teacher investigation
FLINTSTONE, Georgia(WDEF) – The Chattanooga Valley Elementary school year ended Friday with many parents upset at school loaders over the handling of an embattled teacher who is under federal investigation.
On social media, some Chattanooga Valley Elementary school parents have are already expressed their frustration at not being notified about kindergarten teacher Mark McCormack.
Tuesday morning, school leaders learned McCormack was being investigated by multiple law enforcement agencies including homeland security, but they reportedly failed to notified parents that he would not be teaching classes while under investigation. Instead, most parents found out through news reports and hearsay.
“They call us if there is a tornado coming through. They call us if there’s a bomb threat, but they can’t call us if a teacher has been under investigation by the Homeland security,” said one parent who asked not to be identified.
“Whether it be hearsay or whatever, they should know. They shouldn’t have to find out off the internet or something like that. It looks better for the school and better for everybody if everybody is in the know,” said Troy Copeland who is also a parent.
According to Waterhouse Public Relation Strategist Natalie Jenereski, this kind of situation requires a delicate balance of letting people know what’s going on while not putting them on high alert.
“If you don’t know all the facts off the bat, you can say that. You can be totally honest with people and say to be honest. We don’t know everything right now, but we want to alert you to the fact that something has happened; a teacher is being investigated if you want to let that information out there. Make people aware of all the steps because the more people know about a situation, the more comfortable they’ll feel,” Jenerski said.
In the meantime, school leaders continue to refuse answering questions about why parents were never notified on the day the school learned McCormack was under investigation.
News 12 asked one parent who asked not to be identified if this situation should lead to new leadership both at the school and inside the district office.
“I sure do,” she said.
There was even more scrutiny by some parents placed on school leaders after News 12 obtained prior written criminal complaints against McCormack alleging two cases of sexual misconduct toward school children.
Both of those cases were dropped due to lack of evidence.
So far, no charges have been filed in this current investigation.