Removal of elementary school principal over test scores upsets some parents

Posted at 11:35 PM, Oct 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-07 07:40:20-04

RICHMOND, Va. - Former G.H. Reid Elementary principal Vincent Darby was reassigned to be the assistant principal at Oak Grove Elementary after Richmond Public School Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden recommended the move to the Richmond School Board.

The move came amid falling test scores for the  south Richmond school.

"I was just shattered," Darby, who just started his third year as principal, said.

"This was not Dr. Bedden saying you need to go, we need to remove you," school board member Kim Gray told Darby. "This is the state and federal government."

Richmond School Board member Mamie Taylor made a motion Monday night to reject Dr. Bedden's recommendation, however the majority of the board voted against that motion.

Reid Elementary entered priority status this school year, meaning it is one of the lowest performing schools in the state. Dr. Bedden said the school has also seen academic declines on the SOL tests with double-digit drops in some scores.

"If we decide to ignore what the state and federal government says, then we have to send their money back and that would harm a lot of students," Gray said.

Supporters showed up to Monday night's work session, hoping that the board would decide to keep Darby.

"Mr. Darby listened to me," parent Gladys Tucker said. "To my concerns, and helped advocate for my son to get where he is today."

Many parents, teachers, and students said Dr. Darby has helped increase overall morale at the school and increased outreach to parents since he started.

"Change is good in some instances, but with children we are giving them too much change and that causes them to fail," said one parent.