For almost four months, parents, grandparents and guardians have been pushing back against multiple policies that Gregory-Portland Independent School District has put in place. Members of a group called G-PISD Parents United have come together, feeling these policies are taking precious time away from parents and their children. The most vocal complaint has been G-PISD’s visitor policy not allowing parents to sit with their kids for lunch breaks.
After all members of the public had spoken, G-PISD Superintendent Dr. Michelle Cavazos addressed the community.
During the 11 minute statement, Cavazos noted that de-spite the diﬀerent perspectives, there has been a high level of respect and decorum from those who have spoken publicly to the School board.
Cavazos said that allowing lunches with students could still pose a security risk, even if the parents are unlikely to be the perpetrators of such an act.
“It’s simply not worth the risk to our students and staﬀ ,” said Cavazos. “... Since early November of 2022, I’ve thoughtfully and carefully reviewed the processes we have taken as a district to address the concerns of an original group of nine parents and grandparents and one student who met with us regarding the visitor and volunteer procedures in place that were first communicated back in August of 2022.”
She made clear that G-PISD never intended to be perceived as a closed campus district, stating volunteers are welcomed and encouraged. Cavazos stated that the conversations center around lunches with students on campus, a topic that has been dis-cussed internally several times. “Our district and school leaders who are all experienced professionals responsible for the safety of our children and our needs as a district to devote our efforts to increasing academic progress for students have come to a consensus several times that opening our school for lunches is not ideal,” said Cavazos
She went on to state that it is not ide-al from a safety standpoint and could detract from academic focuses. There is also limited space in school cafeterias and that many families cannot have lunch with their children, resulting in students potentially feeling left out.
While the district continues to create opportunities to promote family engagement through volunteer opportunities, school lunches remained off the table during this statement.
Cavazos commiserated with the parents regarding how important spending time with children is.
“I think it’s important for all to keep in mind that time with your child is exactly what we are trying to give you by keeping our school secure, helping them academically, doing the important work we have been called to do and charged with providing for you,” said Cavazos. “We want to see your child make it all the way to graduation day while the are under our care.”
In response to the widespread coverage of the topic, G-PISD will release a webpage that contains information for the community.
“We understand that others may choose a different path for their child’s education in the event they do not want to be served by our district,” said Cavazos. “I’m hopeful that we can find a path forward together. One thing that I can promise you is that every school leader here has the best interest of our children at heart.”
Following the meeting, a survey was released by the district asking where parents stood on allowing lunch with students inside the school buildings. The district stated the survey would be used to determine the majority sentiment among families regarding the topic.