Some Marion parents upset over what’s happening in their kids math class

Johnakin Middle School (WPDE)

Kelley Sellers and a few other parents want to know why their children’s seventh grade math class at Johnakin Middle School in Marion has had a substitute teacher since before Christmas.

Sellers said her son comes home every night with no homework and she questions what he’s learning in the class from a teacher not certified to teach math.

"My son day after day came home with no homework first of all. And with math I know it's one of those things you have to practice. It's one of my strengths. But if you miss anything. If you miss any step because you're going to fail somewhere down the line because each step in math is crucial. So, he's not learning. They're sending no homework home. But he says he has a sub. I think they would have some type of curriculum available to pass out to students. Homework, class work. They weren't getting anything,” said Sellers.

Sellers said as of Tuesday morning she’s yet to hear from Marion County School District administrators explaining to her why a sub is teaching the class.

"So, what happens until its filled? They're babysitting the students and giving them puzzles to do during the course of the day. Is that acceptable, I don't think so," Sellers explained.

Raquel Kenney’s daughter is also in that math class. She too has concerns.

"I don't think that when a person is out that your children should have hiccups. It should be fluid where the content can still continue to be covered. And they should continue to stay on task. This is a community and we need to do it as a community. When my child doesn't have a teacher that means that somebody else's child doesn't have a teacher as well,” said Kenney.

We reached out to Marion County School District Office of Public Relations and Special Projects Director Deborah D. Wimberly.

She sent the following statement on this matter:

Given the time of year and the shortage of certified teachers across the state, we often find it difficult to locate a certified substitute, which is the situation in this case. We will continue to work with all our schools in making sure our students are provided the instruction they need according to state standards.

We found that school districts across the Pee Dee and in Robeson County face nearly 100 vacancies right now for certified teacher positions.

The districts said they’re working as hard as they can to fill those positions.

Sellers wants districts to be held accountable for not ensuring that students get a quality education from a certified teacher trained to do the job.

"They have this No Child Left Behind, so I now I feel like they don't care. Somebody has to be held accountable. That's why we send our kids to school. To learn. Somebody has to held accountable and what's responsible for what's going on in the classroom,” said Sellers.

Wimberly said the district has sent a letter out to parents Tuesday informing them Johnakin Middle’s “school administrative team, which is the principal, the assistant principal and the curriculum facilitator, have identified and provided appropriate instructional materials to support the seventh grade math standards. “

She added they will work closely with the substitute to guarantee that students’ academic needs are met.

Kenney said she did talk with district administrators and trust they’ll put the students education first.

"My greatest fear is that my child will be left behind. As a community, that will be our greatest fear. Is that the content is not going to be covered and they have to catch up. But I am willing to allow administration to do what they promised me they would do. That is hopefully the end goal. That everything will work out in the best interest of our children. Because the children are the future of today. We're raising them to be our future leaders. So, in order for them to be our future, we have to instill things in them today,” said Kenney.

We’ll continue to follow this situation for you.

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