City School Parent: “The students are running the school.”
BALTIMORE (WBFF) - A Baltimore City student failing a class he’s not even taking. Now, that student is raising serious concerns about what’s happening inside his school.
The 17-year-old student, who we agreed not to identify, attends Independence School Local 1. He transferred to the small west Baltimore charter school this year. With only 154 students, he and his mom thought it was the perfect fit - they were wrong.
From the first day of class in September, Diane Barbour’s son told her the environment at Independence makes it hard to learn. When she has visited the school, she sees why.
“I feel like the students are running the school,” says Barbour. “I see the students up and down the hall. If I look in the classroom, they are sitting on the desks doing whatever they want.”
Barbour’s son has college ambitions, but says Independence isn’t preparing him. With only five months left in his senior year, he’s running out of time.
“The teachers don’t have time to teach us and instruct us. They don’t even give us no work,” he told Project Baltimore.
Since September, Barbour’s says her son has had four math teachers. And after five months of school, he has yet to receive a report card. In October, he did receive a progress report, but there’s some problems with it. He’s failing Fine Arts Dance. A class in which he says he’s not enrolled. He’s also not enrolled in Leadership, but that class is also listed on his progress report. He is enrolled in Computer Science, but received no grade.
“It’s like nobody cares. Like, they are not paying attention or don’t care,” the student says.
Barbour wants answers, but she doesn’t know who to complain to, because the school currently has no principal. He left in December.
“It’s disappointing to me,” says Barbour, “As a parent, I feel that if I don’t speak up, I let my son down.”
According to Independence’s school profile on City Schools’ website, more than half its students are considered chronically absent, which is more than double the District average of 23 percent. And according to 2017 state testing data analyzed by Project Baltimore, the school has zero students proficient in Math.
Project Baltimore contacted Independence multiple times requesting an interview to discuss Barbour’s concerns. Fox45 was told, they’d call back. They did not. Meanwhile, Barbour and her son want out of the school. They feel like his future depends on it.
“I keep talking, but I’m not getting anywhere with them,” says Barbour. “That is why I’m calling out for help.”
UDPATE: After Project Baltimore contacted Independence, the school reached out to Barbour and scheduled an emergency meeting. Her son cannot transfer. It’s too late in his senior year. But Independence guaranteed the family it will do everything it can to make sure Barbour’s son graduates and goes to college. Barbour says her son has also received an updated progress report with the correct classes and grades. But he has still not received a report card.