Students preparing to begin school at Cedar Ridge High School were in for a surprise when they received schedules in the mail — unwanted classes, empty blocks and overcrowded rooms were standard.
Dorothy O’Neill, a parent of a student at the Hillsborough school, said she was outraged by the scheduling errors. By the first day of classes on Aug. 26, her son, a first-year, was missing classes. Lisa Dumain, another parent, said her son was registered for Advanced Placement classes that he had no interest in taking.
Students received a revised schedule at Cedar Ridge’s open house on Friday, Aug. 23, three days before the first day of class. Though schedules were different, they were still wrong.
Dumain said she tried to meet with counselors, but her request was denied. O'Neill said a counselor closed the door on her, preventing her from entering the office.
Jason Johnson, Orange County executive director of schools, sent an email to Cedar Ridge parents after the open house, apologizing to students and families for the stress caused by the scheduling errors.
“It has become apparent in order to correct individual student schedules there needs to be major adjustments made to the master schedule,” Johnson said in the email.
Johnson said district and school staff would work to correct the master schedule, responsible for defining class periods, over the weekend, but the schedules handed to students on the first day of class were still incorrect.
The Daily Tar Heel reached out to Seth Stephens, chief communications officer for Orange County Schools, but he did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.
For the first day of classes, while the school was working on resolving the conflicts, O’Neill said her child went to the gym for empty class periods, playing games and watching movies.
Meanwhile, Cedar Ridge principal Intisar Hamidullah sent voicemails to parents reassuring them that the scheduling conflicts would be quickly resolved. However, O’Neill said she wasn’t satisfied with the principal’s calls.
“According to her, in her voicemails to the parents which just make the parents madder because we know it's not true, it's all fine, but it's not,” O’Neill said.
Though parents said scheduling errors have occurred at Cedar Ridge before, Dumain and O’Neill insisted that the impact of this year’s issues extend beyond what has happened in the past.
“Everybody always expects, 'Oh we're going to have something screwed up, we're going to have to go get our schedule changed and get that worked out,'” Dumain said. “This year was just a disaster."
Though most of the scheduling issues have now been corrected, some parents blame Hamidullah for the flawed master schedule and are demanding change in the school’s administration. Parents recently created a Facebook group to discuss what they believe to be broader issues at Cedar Ridge.
“We need new leadership,” O’Neill said. “Somehow, the other high school in the district doesn't have these types of problems. We know it can be done."
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