Goddard Controversy

By: Eric James
By: Eric James

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Hundreds of Goddard parents are protesting a decision made by the school board last week.

The board voted to take over teaching responsibility from King's Camp, a private juvenile center near the school.

According to a report done by a private educational consultant, the King's Camp facilities aren't adequate when it coms to education. That's the main reason board members say they are taking in the students. But their decision isn't sitting well with parents or with the director of King's Camp.

King's Camp director Dick Kesley says it takes a lot of special training, care and understanding to handle and educate 44 juvenile delinquents with a range of emotional problems.

Kesley says, "When you take them out of this you create a lot of insecurity and a lot of other problems that they really don't need during this time that they're really trying to turn their lives around, they're really trying to change their behavior."

Given that, and the fact that the kids ages 11-17 have had numerous run-ins with the law, why would the Goddard School District want them? It's the same question Goddard parents like Scott Siple are asking.

Scott says, "Any time you are allowing juvenile offenders into the same proximity, let along the same building as our kids -- it's not very comfortable."

Kelsey says the boys at King's Camp aren't too keen on the idea either, but the Goddard School district has jurisdiction over the boys.

School board members hired an educational consultant to evaluate the camp. The report found the boys aren't getting the proper education.

Kelsey says the facility meets all state standards, equipped with three classrooms, a cafeteria, and housing.

He also says the staff provides something Goddard can not give. Kelsey says, "Where the kids feel secure, they know they are loved."

But school board president Ray Staats says it's not about love, it's about providing a proper education.

Staats says, "It was the consultant's findings that the facilities out there were not ADA compliant, that they were inappropriate, that they could best achieve their educational needs in Goddard."

Right now, King's Camp gets money from the state just to keep the students, but no funds to educate them. If Goddard gets the students, the district will get more than $340,000 to educate the kids.

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