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Education

Academia Antonia Alonso board says school might move if more Odyssey leaders do not step down

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Delaware Public Media
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Board members at Academia Antonia Alonso charter school near Wilmington say the school may search for a new home, after being the target of jokes made by board members at the neighboring Odyssey Charter School. 

Odyssey’s board recently came under fire for recorded comments by members about “build[ing] a wall” between the Greek-themed charter school and neighboring Academia Antonia Alonso, a dual-language Spanish-English charter school. 

Odyssey’s School Board President Josiah Wolcott resigned at an emergency board meeting Sunday, following the resignation of board member Michael Klezaras last week.

“Even though I didn’t say any of the words or laugh, as the board president I took responsibility for the words that were said,” said Wolcott Monday. “Hopefully this will allow the school to move on through a healing and reconciliation process, get through formal review, get through the probationary period and come out the other side.”

Wolcott says he hopes the change in leadership can help rebuild trust amongst students, teachers and the community.

After the comments made by Odyssey board members came to light, the state Department of Education placed Odyssey on formal review over the comments and possible failure to fulfill conditions of probation imposed last summer regarding the make-up of its board. Multiple board seats remain vacant.

In a statement, board members at La Academia called Wolcott’s resignation “a major step in the right direction,” but challenged the idea that the community can move on. 

Academia Antonia Alonso Board President Maria Alonso says Wolcott and Klezeras were not the only people at fault. 

“There are two other board members who made statements at that board meeting and an administrative leader who led the cackling laughter, again, all too recognizable to community member at Odyssey and La Academia,” she said. 

Alonso would like to see these three step down as well. If this does not happen, she says her school, which rents space from Odyssey, will need to move. 

“I am very concerned about the impact of this on our school,” she said. “We cannot have a community in fear of coming to school. And so we need to then find a new home.”

La Academia’s board said in a statement that if Wolcott’s resignation is as far as Odyssey leadership can go, this shows “tolerance for racism is still alive” on the campus.

“Our families are scared,” said Alonzo. “Understandably, our kids— from their parents— get scared. And, I’m a psychologist, research shows us that when the amygdala is hijacked, children can’t learn.”

Alonso says La Academia is seeking the support of the larger community in looking for a new home.

 

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