Parent frustrated with DCS website

Published 5:44 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dear editor, The Times

Demopolis has endeared itself to me and my family in the five years we have lived here. Great community pride comes from the school system Demopolis supports.

I need not say what an asset this school system is to Demopolis. My wife is part of the faculty and both our sons attend this school system. You can surely see the fondness I have for our school system.

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To that end I would like to point out what I consider to be at least disturbing and at worst a careless disregard for the integrity of Demopolis City Schools.

Recently, I have tried to find who the board members of our school system are by visiting the school website. The website has been “under construction” for an unusually long time.

Recently, I visited the site once again and started looking under the different tabs that are working. To my disbelief, I find errors, misspelled words and, seemingly, plagiarism.

I am incredulous!

Here are a few examples:

• Under the “Students” tab on that website, and the sub-title Student Activities there is a sentence that says, “We encourage you to get involved in the many student activities going on at Grants Pass School District.”

This is from a website for a Galveston, Texas school district. No one even bothered to change the name to DCS.

• Under the “District” tab and the “Staff” button, there is a paragraph that begins, “Our district strives to create a work atmosphere…continued success of our success.”

That is almost word-for-word taken from a school district in Plumas County, Oregon.

• In announcing an important award Demopolis High School earned in 2009, the word ribbon was misspelled, “ribbard.”

Are these sections finished? If not, why post them? What an embarrassment. Perhaps these do not seem like large or egregious errors. Sadly, they indeed reflect upon the leadership, school and the city.

It frames our school system to those unfamiliar as complacent, careless and contemptuous of our students, faculty, staff and citizenry.

Surely the fact that this is a website for an entity in the business of education is not lost upon the reader. I believe this is called irony.

For a school system to reach its lofty goal of educating our children, the pursuit of excellence must start at the top.

The highest leadership of this school system must demand excellence and make it clear to those responsible for executing the necessary duties of the school system, that errors like those described above will not be tolerated.

Certainly not on such a public forum. Certainly nowhere in the system.

Sadly, this is, from the citizen’s perspective, only one example of embarrassing behavior and ineffectual leadership at this great school system.

I would like this school system, and for that matter, the entire community, to be an example of how to do great things in a challenging environment – to achieve beyond expectations and to strive for a high level of excellence.

By having leadership insist on this, our school system can then lead by example to demand the same passion for success in our children.

Ray Dauphin