Parents in support of new and controversial charter school Cornerstone Preparatory School in Memphis are taking their message to the Internet, starting an online petition they launched Tuesday.
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Cornerstone Prep took over the old Lester School in Binghampton as part of the Achievement School District.
The parents, who call themselves "Prepster Parents," who launched the online petition felt their children are benefiting from the new leadership at the school but they also say they've been disappointed with their efforts to be heard at community meetings.
"Our voices do matter," said Airwrecka McBride. "If you believe in change and you appreciate the education your children are receiving, we encourage you to reach out."
The "Prepster Parents" feel the petition is one way they can guarantee their voices will be heard, saying they were disappointed that they were not allowed to speak at a concerned citizens meeting at the Lester Community Center on Saturday.
"He said they didn't ask the community's permission to come into the neighborhood and they don't have enough black teachers," said Kimberly Bean, who attended Saturday's meeting. She was shocked at what she was told when she tried to share the progress her daughter has made under the new school system.
Bean says she was told she could only speak if she had concerns about the school.
Bean and McBride both have second graders at Cornerstone and say they don't share the concerns others have expressed about the racial make up of the school's staff.
"It's not Cornerstone's fault that the top qualifying people for the job were not black," McBride said. "They want people that can do a good job."
Other parents at Cornerstone and some community leaders are still not convinced that the charter school's teachers are doing a good job. Former Mayor Dr. Willie Herenton promised to take his concerns up with Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who told FOX13 News while visiting Memphis Tuesday, Dr. Herenton followed through on his promise.
"Dr. Herenton called our office (Monday)," Gov. Haslam confirmed to FOX13 News. "I was in the middle of getting ready for the State of the State and I told him I'd give him a call sometime this week to hear his concerns."
Meanwhile, Bean and McBride feel the issues that parents have complained about have been fixed and that it's time for the community to move on.
"If it was an issue, why are your children still enrolled in Cornerstone?," McBridge questioned.
"If Cornerstone has to move, I will definitely be moving my child with Cornerstone, wherever they go," Bean said.