An estimated 300 people came together in Long Beach Tuesday night to talk about problems in the city's school system. The meeting was organized by a group of parents, but in the audience were teachers, administrators, and students.
One person not there was superintendent Dr. Charles Lyle. Lyle, who has been strongly criticized of late for his administrative style, felt his presence might intimidate some people, and keep them from talking.
Although Lyle was not there, it did not take long before the school system he's been in charge of for more than a year now, came under heavy criticism. One parent said she can no longer trust the administration of Long Beach.
Everyone in the audience, was given a survey to fill out, asking questions like, "Do you think schools are progressing in a positive way under Dr. Lyle's leadership?"
Lynn Kellogg is one of the parents who organized the meeting.
"The greatest concern to me, out of all the things that we have concerns about, is the fact when parents do have a concern, we are not shown respect," Kellogg said.
Kirk Sharp also spoke, he is a member of the Long Beach school board.
"If there is anyone in this room, who feels I have not provided you the respect you deserved, or provided you a hearing, please find me, I wish to understand that better,'' Sharp told the audience.
The meeting lasted about 90 minutes, 12 people spoke, none were teachers. Lynn Kellogg thinks she knows why no teachers spoke.
"I think the teachers are concerned if they speak out, that their job could be in jeopardy and I'm not saying they have been threatened," Kellogg said.
Although no teachers came forward, one guidance counselor at Reeves elementary did. She said she was concerned that if one senses intimidation, whether real or perceived, then there is a huge problem in the district.
Although several Long Beach parents are obviously unhappy with the job Superintendent Dr. Charles Lyle is doing, one thing is certain, his job is not in jeopardy. School board president, Carolyn Anderson, said the board is still confident they made the right decision in hiring Lyle. Anderson said, he is a strong curriculum based individual, and that is why he is a good superintendent.