Ale'ta Turner is a mother of two and one of the graduates in the inaugural cohort of Parents Who Lead. We asked her a few questions about her experience in the program. Here's what she said.
Ale'ta Turner is a mother of two and one of the graduates in the inaugural cohort of Parents Who Lead. We asked her a few questions about her experience in the program. Here's what she said. (Want to learn more about how you can join Parents Who Lead? Apply here.)
Before this program, did you consider yourself a "parent leader"? Why or why not?
I am a public education advocate by profession and passion. I didn’t see myself as a parent leader until I applied to the Parents Who Lead program. I saw myself through the lens and assumptions of others… another parent complaining or concerned about their child. When I desired to schedule meetings to address my concerns regarding discipline and the student code of conduct, I was told I didn’t need to schedule a meeting with the dean of discipline. Professionally, I’d went on numerous Discover Duval Schools tours to know that principals and teachers promoted schools being a welcoming place for parents and caregivers. My personal experience was that every public or public charter school’s culture was different.
How did this program change your view of what you can do as a parent leader?
I was thrust into being a parent leader once my third grade son had an idea to host an advocacy event after going through the bully investigation process and learning that school policy did not consider it bullying, but rather a student code of conduct violation. My family hosted our very own community event, the B.O.N.D Back-to-School Bash, focused on bully prevention in August 2018 with a number of partners supporting our efforts. Once I started the Parents Who Lead program, I realized that becoming a parent leader meant that I look within, around and beyond my community to make a difference in the lives of all children. I began to recognize the power of community and collaboration. Parent leaders are a part of the solution and can uplift the work of others serving our children every day.
What is your project, and why do you believe it's important to children in Duval County?
My community project is called “The Golden Rule: Bully Investigation Road Map and Resource Guide.”
I am partnering with Heather Watson at Duval County Public Schools to develop a road map for the bully investigation process in addition to FAQs. I hope to host another community event with a theatrical piece where the resource guide is shared with parents, students and youth-serving organizations by the next school year. The Golden Rule is important to the children in Duval County because they should understand how bullying is defined and that every adult in their school environment is concerned about their safety. Just because a child’s experience may not be classified as “bullying” doesn’t mean that disciplinary action cannot be taken by an administrator. We must work together on behalf of our city’s youth to ensure their voices are heard and hold ourselves (parents, teachers and administrators) accountable for providing safe spaces for our youth to feel comfortable sharing their experiences, good or bad.
Because I never want to miss an opportunity to educate people about bullying, here is the definition of bullying according to Duval County Public Schools policy.
Three specific characteristics that identify bullying are as follows:
- The behavior must be repeated. Bullying does not just happen once
- The bullying is intentional and intended to harm
- The bullying is directed to someone with less power
The Duval County Public School policy 10.2 defines bullying as systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students. It is further defined as unwanted, purposeful and repeated written, verbal, nonverbal, electronic or physical behavior, by a student or adult, that is severe or pervasive enough to create an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment; cause discomfort or humiliation; or unreasonably interfere with the individual’s school performance or participation; and is characterized by an imbalance of power.