DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (CBS Atlanta) – Nearly 150 people camped outside of the DeKalb County school district headquarters Thursday night to register their children for school.
Parents began camping out Thursday at 8 p.m. to register their children who met the school district’s specific criteria which included the following: students whose primary home language is other than English, students whose first language is other than American English, and students who were born outside of the US whose primary home language is other than American English.
“I think every child needs to go to school. That’s the reason I’ve been here,” parent Philippe Alexis told WGCL-TV.
Quinn Hudson, the public information officer for the DeKalb County Schools, explained that the International Welcome Center at headquarters is open year-round to process international students.
She said that a rumor started in the community that children need to be processed by Monday, the beginning of the school year, in order for them to be enrolled, WGCL-TV reported.
Normally 50 to 60 students are processed per day because of staffing limitations.
Pine Lake City Councilman George Chidi was upset when he found out that parents were camped outside of the school district headquarters to register their children. He sent an angry letter to Hudson.
“Quinn. Twenty percent of the student body meets the criteria for ‘culturally and linguistically diverse.’ 20,000 children,” Chidi wrote in the letter according to WGCL-TV. “If the system has to register 2000 in a year — and I suspect the figure is higher — then you’re saying it would take 34 days to process all of them. 17 if half arrive during the summer. (I could start doing some queuing theory math and linear algebra to give you confidence bands, but this is probably good enough.)”
“And yet, here we are, with people sleeping on the sidewalk with little children, because the central office doesn’t know how to message effectively,” Chidi expressed in the letter. “Your explanation of the policy about enrollment is lovely. It doesn’t explain the results. It’s ass-covering doublespeak. I will hear an explanation for how this happens and what the staff plans to do about it.”
Chidi did explain that he wasn’t intending to send the email to the media, but he stands by what he said in it.