Metro Schools director creates team to look at Antioch students’ grievances

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The director of Metro Schools said the grievances and viewpoints voiced by Antioch High School students last Friday caused him “great concern.”

Dr. Shawn Joseph said he visited the school to meet with the principal and student leaders on Monday.

It comes after hundreds of students staged and executed a walk out Friday morning after first period classes to bring attention to the many issues they have with both the school’s leadership and facilities.

“It is clear that Antioch is beloved by its student body and they organized the walkout on Friday because they want opportunities to succeed and they want the school to be great for everyone, including staff,” Dr. Joseph said in a statement.

He went on to say he created a team to “thoroughly examine the issues that have been raised as well as the overall culture of Antioch High School.”

Dr. Joseph noted that even if some of the complaints turn out to be misunderstandings, “we have to acknowledge that perception is reality, and so we must and will do better.”

“We have to make sure the school continues to become even stronger and that comes by us paying close attention to issues of culture and working with staff, parents and students to take the school to the next level,” he continued.

Joseph said the principal, Dr. Keiva Wiley, assured him she is “fully committed” to working collaboratively with students and staff to resolve the concerns at hand.Read Dr. Shawn Joseph’s full statement below:

Dear Antioch High staff and community partners:

The viewpoints expressed by student demonstrators on Friday caused me great concern. I visited Antioch this morning to personally speak with Dr. Wiley and separately with some student leaders. It is clear that Antioch is beloved by its student body and they organized the walkout on Friday because they want opportunities to succeed and they want the school to be great for everyone, including staff.

Every student and employee deserves to be in a welcoming and positive school environment. Antioch High School has many strengths on which we want to build, including strong academic pathways and extracurricular activities. We have to make sure the school continues to become even stronger and that comes by us paying close attention to issues of culture and working with staff, parents and students to take the school to the next level.

I have assembled a team to thoroughly examine the issues that have been raised as well as the overall culture of Antioch High School. Even if some of the complaints turn out to be misunderstandings or misperceptions, we have to acknowledge that perception is reality, and so we must and will do better.

Dr. Wiley assured me that she is fully committed to working collaboratively with students and staff to resolve the concerns at hand and better communicate with all stakeholders going forward. An open dialogue is essential for a healthy culture where staff feel supported, students feel nurtured and everyone feels valued.

I will be deploying staff to Antioch this week to gather input from you, your colleagues and Antioch students. These will be independent research staff who will be charged with unearthing the root causes of the issues that have been raised so that we can develop a proactive plan to address them. This work may have to continue after you return from spring break to ensure we are completely thorough.

Look for details to be shared soon on how you can help us with this process. Thank you for your commitment to our students and to Antioch.

Sincerely,

Dr. Shawn Joseph

Director of Schools

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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