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Tulsa Public Schools counselor says 5th grader can't read

TPS counselor says 5th grader can't read{p}{/p}
TPS counselor says 5th grader can't read

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Hired just a few months ago, Pastor AV Avington is a counselor at Greenwood Leadership Academy.

"My job entails helping students get on a better path," he said.

And recently he was stunned to learn the path that one of the 5th graders was on.

"The student came in my office and sat at my desk and told me, 'Mr. Avington, I can not read,' I was thinking at first she was joking," he said.

But it was no joke as he would come to learn from the student's grandmother.

"I need my grandbaby to learn how to read, that’s number one," said Marine Gardner. She says her granddaughter has been at the school since kindergarten and is now 11 years old.

"When we say she can’t read are we saying she reads at like a 4-year-old level?" asked News Channel 8.

"We’re saying that she can’t say, the, is, was, saw, Sally," said Gardner.

The pastor took his concerns about the student to his colleagues at the school.

"They treated it as though it was a commonplace. The children in that facility, that’s just one of many," he said.

"Do you think there are more kids who can’t read?" NewsChannel 8 asked.

"Oh yes, yes there is," he said.

NewsChannel 8 reached out to TPS for comment but we've yet to hear back. The pastor reached out to speak to the school board about it but has been rebuffed multiple times.

"I went back the third time, 'I’m sorry but we haven’t got an answer yet from our attorneys to allow you to speak or say what you would like to say about this issue,'" he said.

And Ms. Gardner says she's repeatedly raised her concerns with the staff of Greenwood Leadership.

What did they say when you said, "'Hey she can’t read,'" asked NewsChannel 8.

"They can’t give me no explanation, they apologize," Gardner said.

Mr. Avington says when he looked at her records he saw a pattern of passing the buck.

"The teachers had falsified grades, on her behalf, and moved her on to other levels of achievement," he said.

NewsChannel 8 asked what kind of grades she had been getting.

"A’s through the whole six years," said Gardner.

"It's disgraceful," said TPS school board member E'Lena Ashley. She says she's grateful Avington has spoken up.

"For someone to speak up is quite courageous, so I do applaud him," she said.

As for any repercussions he might face?

"And possibly will be fired for this interview but, like I said, it will be well worth it, if I have to pay a price for this," he said.

As for who should pay the price for a 5th grader who can't read?

"Every last one of ‘em, every last one of ‘em. Accountable for that girl that can’t read at 11 years old," said Gardner.


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