Parents frustrated with closing of head start program - - The News for South Mississippi

Parents frustrated with closing of head start program


Harrison County's head start program faces an uncertain future after the agency responsible for running it has been terminated, and teachers are out of jobs.

Allegations of child abuse and corporal punishment surfaced in the head start program in 2014. As a result, a company will be brought in by the federal government to take over the program for six months.

Parents of students at the Saucier Head Start who spoke with WLOX don't understand why their school is affected and don't think the teachers and staff should lose their jobs.

"This is beyond ridiculous that they are being fired," said Tiffany Watson. "Not one of these individuals here should be punished or penalized for the actions of a few at some other head start centers."

Shane Grimmet's son was expecting his son to go to head start today, but Grimmet had to take off work when he found out the school would be closed.

"If he doesn't come here, trying to afford full time child care is going to be almost unmanageable for us," said Grimmet.

Meanwhile, Heather Shults is dependent on the head start to help her disabled son.

"He requires a lot of extra effort than the other children here, and they have been amazing," said Shults. "They get him everything that he needs."

The head start centers are expected to reopen in January but it could be with a different staff, something Shults isn't happy about.

"How are these kids going to react when they come back to school and everybody they knew is gone, all of the teachers they knew are gone and you've got all of these new faces," said Shults. "Some of these kids aren't going to adjust."

With the future of the Gulf Coast Community Action Agency's Head Start program up in the air, parents are left to wonder what they should do.

"There is no day cares that have any opening any where and even if there was, I'm on a low income and can't afford day care for my children," said Tiffany Watson. "I can barely afford after school care. If this center shuts down I don't know what I'm going to do."

All head start teachers in the system will have to re-apply for their jobs. 

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