Parents are upset and calling for major changes at Staley Elementary in Rome. Some have even signed a petition over claims of bullying problems, building conditions and disorganization of student pick up after school. School Superintendent Peter Blake says the claims are a misconception that need straightening out.

The kids to teacher ratio and busing issues are a concern for parents. "There are over 750 kids in the school. Classrooms are way too small and lunch/recess is a terrible mess," says Steven Autrey.

Blake disagrees. "Staley actually has some of the biggest classrooms in the district."

As for complaints over the busing situation, Blake says he's aware of traffic circle concerns but kids are dismissed early to get them home on time. "Buses are off the property withing 5 minutes of the final bell. I can't control the vehicles. Parents need to take responsibility for being safe drivers."

Robert Vendura says she pulled her two kids out of the school because "of the bullying and lack of structure that, that school has."

Bullying is not a new problem and Blake says his office receives reports daily. "The more we hear about bullying problems, the more we work to address them."

Mary Eckler Hardee says she and her husband brought concerns to the superintendent and the board last year when the plan was announced to make Staley an elementary school. "We were basically told not to worry and everything would be great."

"I've had a few calls and emails over some concerns but there are several misconceptions about Staley," says Blake. "I don't know why Staley is being targeted but we have things going on in other buildings in the district that are far worse and we're working on all of them."

Blake's biggest concern is how issues are being handled by parents. "It's disappointing people use social media to air grievances rather than trying to work it out in person."

Anyone who still has concerns, Blake says they can come see for themselves. "There is incredibly positive and good things happening at Staley that the community needs to recognize and I invite anyone to come spend a day in the building."


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