Columbia County school board discusses moving alternative school; controversy explodes on social media

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF)- What started off as “talk” is causing some controversy.

During a recent Columbia County Board of Education retreat, there was discussion of moving Columbia County’s alternative school from the old Evans Elementary to the site where Grovetown Elementary currently is.

“During a retreat, earlier this year, we had some discussion about moving it to other locations, including Grovetown, in the idea that it might be cheaper,” said School Board Vice-Chair Mike Sleeper.

Sleeper says the idea hasn’t made it any further.

“No official direction was given. There are no immediate plans to move it anywhere. There’s just some discussion,” said Sleeper.

But the topic has already popped up on social media in the Grovetown Neighborhood Watch Facebook page.

That’s where Lindsey Dunkle saw it.

“There were a lot of comments. I couldn’t even read through them all,” said Dunkle.

The post has since been taken down but not before hundreds sounded off regarding safety along with many upset that the alternative school could be back in the Grovetown city limits, like it was before 2013.

If there is a chance the school could be right next to her child’s elementary school, Dunkle says she doesn’t mind.

“Every child needs an education, whether they have issues or they don’t have issues. My son has personal issues, but just because he’s got that doesn’t mean that defines who he is,” said Dunkle.

Sleeper says if it does come down to the board, he’ll be looking at both sides when it comes to safety and education for all students.

“The alternative school is a great neighbor. There are no issues. Most of the students there, the vast majority of the kids there are kids who have stumbled,” said Sleeper.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office had 20 incidents at the alternative school last year.

There have been seven so far this year.

There’s no word on when or if the topic of moving the alternative school will go before the school board.

NewsChannel 6 will continue to keep you updated.

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