Principal says dismissal process was a “hot mess”

The first day of school at Goldsboro Elementary Magnet School (GEMS) closed on a low note, as parents waited upwards of two hours to pick up their children.

Traffic was backed up on 20th St. to French Avenue. At one point, traffic on French was affected as vehicles waited to turn on 20th St.

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Parents took to venting their anger on Facebook.

It delayed not only parents, but buses were not able to get to the school for their afternoon routes. For some students who ride the bus, they did not leave school until after 5 PM.

Many parents were irate.

“This is ridiculously, it should not take this long to pick up my kid,” said one mom who asked not to be identified.

Another parent said it took 1 hour and 40 minutes for him to pick up his son from GEMS. They live within 2 miles away from the school.

“I easily could have walked there and back in a quarter of the time,” he said.

One mom said that’s exactly what she plans to do.

“Until they get this straightened out, I’m walking. There’s no excuse for this,” she said.

Most parents admit that the first day of school is always the most difficult in terms of traffic when dropping off or picking up their children.

“You budget for the extra time each first day, but this was unreal,” said a father of a GEMS student.

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More parent comments on Facebook.

Several parents wondered whether new construction at the school was a reason for the delays. Others noted that Sanford-area schools have seen rapid growth in the last couple of years and speculated that additional new students were the reason for the long lines.

Whatever the cause, parents were upset that no information was forthcoming from the school.

“No one is telling us what is happening,” said a mother.

“I asked how they were going to make it better tomorrow and got no answer,” said one woman who was picking up her sister’s child.

In an email to staff members sent after all students had left the school, principal Keaton Schreiner praised teachers for “putting in the extra time today to ensure the safety of our students,” and noted several teachers stood in the rain during the dismissal process.

“The one thing we need to work on is dismissal,” Schreiner said in his email. “To put it kindly, it was a hot mess.”

Which raises the question: why is the administration at Goldsboro Elementary waiting until the second day of school to “work on” how to deal with this issue, especially if they are related to overcrowding and construction issues?

I have emailed the principal a list of questions. When he responds I will post them here.

– by Dan Ping

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