Pocahontas Co. Safe Schools Director Tells the BOE his Concerns on Attendance and School Safety

Ron Hall, the Pocahontas County Safe Schools Director, was scheduled to speak at the Board of Education’s December 17th meeting about hiring an energy services company to save on electrical bills and switch to LED lighting in the schools, but during a technical delay starting the Power Point presentation about that, Hall spoke about the plans he has spent a lot of time developing to reunify the students at another location if a catastrophic event- and he said we should know what type of event that could be- were to happen at a school. Hall said, despite all the planning, it is almost guaranteed that if those plans ever have to be used, that in the resulting confusion, things will probably not go as planned. Hall put it this way:

“It’s going to be hysterical” Hall said. “I’ve got everything lined up for people to meet me there. I have everything pretty much ready to roll in case that were to happen. Let me tell you this, for all I have done, and I’ve put hours -I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve put in on this, this is the truth -it will fail. More than likely, there will be some capacity of it that will fail because we’re not in that kind of situation. Bad weather…doesn’t matter – we have not been placed in that situation. I am truly guessing on all of it, and I am going on what I’ve seen in other places, the news. I am trying to do the best I can with what I’ve got to work with.”

Hall went on to talk about some of the problems he is having in his capacity as Attendance Director, saying that attendance is a major problem in the Pocahontas county Schools.

“Probably ne of the worst years we’ve had attendance wise” said Hall. “But it’s not just here, it’s statewide, it’s national. I got medical people signing excuses for kids that have anxiety. They give them months off. Now I will be honest with you, I went to school and didn’t even know what anxiety was, but I am sure my daddy would have corrected it if I did. Now everybody has anxiety, and I am sure they do because of the things going on in their lives. Attendance is horrible. Laurie Doolittle is a Godsend. She’s like a tick, she gets on them and don’t get off. They have to smoke her off, she drives them nuts. Finally, somebody in the county is hated worse than me. She truly cares about kids.  We have so many students that are dealing with so many issues, I mean we just don’t understand with the anxieties -we go pick kids up and their parents are still in bed, or we call the parent at 11:00 o’clock and they are still in bed. , trying to talk to them about why their kid is not in school. And some of the time they don’t even know their kid isn’t in school. You know, that’s why their kid is not in school. How do you fix that? How do you fix parenting? I can’t do that! I go to court. Court says give them one more chance because they are overloaded and they can’t deal with it. It’s just…it’s a nightmare. But, I saw all of this coming five years ago when I was a Principal. I see it, we get these parents that are on drugs, which -I don’t know what you know about this county, but we have a major drug problem in this county, and we have a major drug problem inside of our schools, we do! OK, I am not going to lie to you about that. I saw this coming five years ago, I said when these kids get into our Elementarys  and stuff, and we’re seeing them.    Kids cannot retain anything anymore because I think it’s the drugs, home life or what, mental block from something? I don’t know. It’s just a mess right now, a real mess. But we keep fighting the battles – that’s what we do, but we’re not going to—I can’t change home lives, I wish I could. I’d like to go in there and smack a few parents……. I’m done with a few parents out there that are just not trying….”

After saying he would like to smack a few parents, Hall added something that was inaudible on our recording, but was something to the effect that he can’t actually do that because of the trouble it would cause him and the schools. He also added later that there are also a lot of very good parents and you can see this in how well their kids are doing in school.

Stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio for a report on what transpired during the rest of this Board of Education Meeting, but such unrehearsed, truthful, and stark reality coming from a school administrator is very important for the citizens to hear.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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