Western Heights parents and teachers plead with school board to listen to them amid their outrage about district decisions

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Western Heights School District parents and some staff said they have started having public meetings regarding issues that they want school administrators to listen to them about. 

“There’s much concern for many people, teachers, support staff and the patrons of this district about where we are at this time,” said Sharon Teague, an eighth-grade language arts teacher at the middle school, surrounded by some of her colleagues.

“We have several issues with our school board,” said Amy Boone, a parent with students in the district. 

Western Heights teachers and parents said they have had these thoughts for longer than the pandemic, as a matter of fact, over the last year. 

“Morale among certified and support staff is at an all-time low,” Teague said. 

 Teague said she’s seen programs and support staff they rely on be slashed. Some of these cuts affect deaf and special education students. The schools are in virtual learning right now. Jessica Olsen, a mom, said she has three kids in the district and has a complaint of her own. 

“The fresh food was sandwiches that were not fresh,” Olsen said of the school’s food they give out. “The cheese was bubbly and melty, the ham didn’t have any moisture to it, like it was dry.” 

“They’re just not willing to work with us, come to us, ask opinions,” Teague said. 

So, KFOR tried reaching out to Superintendent Mannix Barnes. He originally agreed to an interview, however, on his own terms. 

“You do not want to do a recorded interview, correct?” we asked. 

“I want to do a live interview,” Barnes said over the phone. 

“For the 10 o’clock show we just don’t have that time,” we said. “I’m wanting to offer again if you would be willing to do a recorded interview.” 

“I would be willing to do a live interview,” he said. 

We gave Barnes the option to give us a written statement as well. 

“Is there any chance you’d be willing to give us either of these two things,” we asked Barnes. 

“I’d be willing to do a 4:30, 5, 10 o’clock live,” he said. 

We were unable to meet his request for a live interview. Meanwhile, parents said they are hoping for the best for their kids and for their district. 

“I just want her to have the best opportunity,” Boone said. “And right now, we just don’t have that.” 

“It’s just a horrible, horrible system that they’re not doing well with,” Olsen said. 

“We’re here to fight for our district and fight for all the students,” said Dawrenda Olsen, a mother with a child who is hard of hearing in the school district.

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