CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The tragedy of the 4th grader who died even found it’s way into this morning’s county commission meeting.
A school board member who says it happened in her district, asks commissioners for mutual cooperation between the two groups.
“Unfortunately, last night, as I was driving to pick up my son from football practice around 6:30 pm, I received a call that a 4th grader in my district committed suicide. And the unfortunate part is this is not the first time that I’ve received this call. However, any time this happens, this shakes me to my core. And it’s not because it’s simply a child in my district. It’s because children are the heartbeat of our community,” said Tiffanie Robinson, Hamilton County School Board member, District 4.
Tiffanie Robinson feels there’s a connection between the actions of powerful leaders and the well-being of school children.
“How did we get to this point? Where 4th graders feel like they have to take their own life? That’s not on you and that’s not on me, ok? But as a community what that makes me feel, is that we have have real problems in this community,” said Ms. Robinson.
The breach between the two bodies grew deeper after the commission vote to deny the School Board’s requested 34 cent tax increase, to fund teacher raises. And again when the Commission voted down a referendum on a wheel tax, earmarked for teacher raises earlier this month.
“I think that as elected officials, the nine of you, the nine of us, there’s eighteen people who care deeply about this community, and we have to figure out how to start solving these problems,” said Ms. Robinson.
“So I met with your board chair and your Superintendent, who I think very highly of, and said, ‘Listen guys, I’ve reached out twice, we’ve said publicly that we’re going to meet again, then you’ve cancelled,” said District 2 Commissioner Chip Baker.
The new chair of the Education Committee is Commissioner David Sharpe.
“I certainly will be working with School Board members to help facilitate that, but uh, there is uh, if there’s guilt to be passed around, there’s – there’s guilt on both sides of this conversation, between both bodies,” said David Sharpe, District 6 Commissioner.