BURLEY • Declo parents expressed concern for their children’s safety after a face-marking incident drew national attention earlier this month at the elementary school.
The Cassia County School District filed a professional ethics complaint against Summer Larsen after she allowed students in her fourth-grade class to scribble with markers on classmates’ faces after they failed to achieve a reading goal.
On Tuesday, Geri Lilenquist, president of the Declo Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization, spoke to the Cassia County School Board on behalf of a group of concerned parents.
Lilenquist said comments posted online by people from across the country have parents worried about the safety of students.
After the incident, one parent entered the school without stopping at the school office, went into Larsen’s class and yelled at her in front of the students.
“I understand there is a lot of anger and passion; I get that,” Lilenquist said. “But there is so much anger and negativity, there is concern for the safety of our children.”
Parent Cindy Hurst said she received anonymous letters from other parents at the school threatening her after she publicly criticized Larsen’s actions.
“We do have a problem with safety but not just with our children,” Hurst said.
Hurst said the hate mail she received shows the price someone pays for sticking up for their child.
“There is no policy that says a child should be defaced or assaulted by students for not achieving a goal,” Hurst said.
Other parents expressed concern that someone may come from out of state to try to harm Larsen or school Principal Rebecca Hunsaker.
Lilenquist said the fourth-grade class is a large class, and parents have asked for extra help due to its size since the students were in kindergarten.
She said the students are struggling with basic education and additional aides or teachers are needed.
Larsen’s class had 21 students at the time of the incident. Lilenquist said the class size was reduced this year.