Fiery MCSD board discussion targets bullying and other district issues

Fiery MCSD board discussion targets bullying and other district issues

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A packed room of citizens filled every seat inside the Muscogee County School Board meeting room Monday evening.

Many in attendance supporting and others criticizing the message one Columbus woman brought as she addressed comments a board member directed at her on social media.

Most of the crowd cheered and applauded Maggie Reese as she approached the lectern.

Reese, a school district graduate, addressed the board about her Facebook interaction with board member Frank Myers in July.

"How can we ask our students to treat each other with kindness and respect," Reese said, "when the adults who are elected to represent them are bullies themselves?"

Myers received a wave of criticism on the social media site for using a picture of Reese found on her profile and referring to her body weight. He apologized to Reese on Facebook for his comments.

Reese's message to the board: one of helping students overcome bullying by introducing her "30 to Love" campaign to district schools.

"I would like to bring in people I admire in Columbus," she said, "to show young men and woman that despite what you may look like, or where you come from, you are in control of your own destiny. Only you can define who you are and the way you feel about yourself."

Other citizens took the microphone after Reese, dismissing her remarks as irrelevant to what they believe are real problems plaguing the school board, including special education and reading scores.

One speaker, went to far as to claim the board's newly proposed social media ethics revisions are a "political retaliation" against Myers.

Myers then took the microphone to again apologize to Reese. "For about four days," he said, "I thought that I had [Reese] and I felt really bad about it."

Myers also told Reese he appreciated her accepting his first apology on Facebook, adding he wanted open up a dialogue to address all issues district students face.

"I look at the energy in this room, and I see the t-shirts and the organization. What I would love to do is to turn this negative - which has been horrible - into a positive," Myers said.

Both board member Naomi Buckner and Superintendent David Lewis stated they want to talk to Reese about bringing in her "30 to Love" campaign to district classrooms.

As for the social media ethics and internet use policies brought before the board, members will vote to adopt them in 30 days.

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