Spokesman blasted over families camping out to register students - CBS46 News

City councilman blasts school spokesman over families camping out to register students

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An outraged city councilman blasted the DeKalb County schools spokesman in an email after around 150 people camped outside of the school district headquarters Thursday night waiting to register their children for school.

Open registration began Tuesday, Aug. 5, for students meeting the following criteria:

  • Students whose primary home language is other than English (PHLOTEs)
  • Students whose first language is other than American English
  • Students who were born outside the United States whose primary home language is other than American English.

Some of the parents had been camped out since 8 p.m. Thursday.

DeKalb County Schools PIO Quinn Hudson said the International Welcome Center at headquarters is open year-round to process international students.

Hudson said someone in the community started a rumor that kids needed to be processed by Monday, the start of the school year, in order to be enrolled.

"I think every child needs to go to school. That's the reason I've been here," said parent Philippe Alexis.

Due to staffing limitations, they normally process 50 to 60 students per day.

Upon hearing of the backup, Pine Lake City Councilman George Chidi sent an angry letter to Hudson:

"Quinn. Twenty percent of the student body meets the criteria for 'culturally and linguistically diverse.' 20,000 children. 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.

"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 said he didn't mean to send the email to the media, but said he meant what he said.

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