MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Parents who support the private, state-run elementary school in Binghampton, Cornerstone Preparatory, are rallying together. They say they're sick and tired of others bashing the school.
The state took over Lester Elementary because of low grades. Supporters of Cornerstone Prep met Monday afternoon to form a PTA and start a petition. Parents want to petition to keep Cornerstone in Binghampton. They say the school is doing wonders for their children, and the truth will be told.
"It’s very important for the parents to get together. We've already established a Facebook account, we also have an email address, and we're starting a PTA. There are things that we are going to do to make our voices louder,” said Shon Wilson. She created the Facebook account and organized Monday’s meeting. Wilson also has a son who attends the first grade at Cornerstone.
Monday’s meeting came about after parents who support Cornerstone Prep were denied the chance to speak during a community meeting on Saturday, January 26. Memphis police were called to control the crowd. On one side, parents do not like Cornerstone because they say the teachers are not allowing their children to go to the bathroom.
"As she was going to the restroom a teacher stopped her and told her she couldn't go and that's when she had the incident,” said mother Lashanna Rogers last week. "She (my daughter) urinated so much that they had to get a mop and mop it up."
The school says bathroom breaks are not a problem anymore but some parents still want the state-run school out of Binghampton.
"I will not allow my child to be neglected or mistreated. I don't neglect her or mistreat her and nobody else will, so I will be at every meeting until Lester is back," said another parent, whose daughter also urinated in the classroom.
School supporters have no complaints about teachers.
"I've never had anything negative as far as physical, mental or emotional abuse with my child, never,” said Wilson.
Some parents believe the problem goes beyond kids soiling their pants.
"All kids wet their pants in school. I can tell you that some of my classmates when we were elementary school they wet their pants,” said another Cornerstone supporter, Karen Taylor. She has a granddaughter at the school.
School supporters say people are attacking the staff at Cornerstone. The majority of the staff is white and the students are predominately black.
"My daughter told me that a parent told her, ‘We just do not want those white people in Binghampton from Christ United Methodist Church.’ And my daughter said, ‘You know what, you are racist and you've got a problem!’ That was it, it was just totally wrong,” said Taylor.
Former Memphis Mayor and Memphis City Schools Superintendent Willie Herenton has jumped into the controversy. He wants to talk to Governor Bill Haslam about the problems at Cornerstone Prep. He hopes to have a meeting with the governor on Tuesday when he visits Memphis. Herenton said if that’s not possible, then he will travel to Nashville.