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South Charleston's Mullens challenges community to rethink views on redistricting

By Gracie Ferretti

For the Gazette

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Mayor Frank Mullens, a South Charleston High School graduate, expressed his frustration with the overall community response to talk about possible redistricting of the George Washington and South Charleston High School districts.

"The school board needs to think about what is best for the system in the long run, not respond to pressure and deep pockets," Mullens said at a South Charleston City Council meeting Thursday night.

At a Kanawha County school board meeting last month, some parents voiced their opposition to the possibility of having to move their children from the George Washington school district to South Charleston.

However, board President Pete Thaw indicated last week that school officials are leaning more toward expanding John Adams Middle School instead of changing attendance zones in the area.

Mullens' main concern Thursday was with people in the community questioning the value system of South Charleston High School, saying, "What are middle-class values? We teach the same values to every economic group and every race."

He said anyone who said otherwise was ignorant and that the conversation regarding property and middle-class values should not even be part of the discussion.

Mullens stated that among city officials, there are second- and third-generation alumni of South Charleston. He specifically cited Councilwoman Kathleen Walker and City Clerk Margie Spence.

Mullens encourages community members to go to South Charleston High School. "Have you ever been to the school or talked to the students or the administration?" he asked.

He also states that one would be hard-pressed to find a cleaner, more well-kept school. "It's as clean as a hospital," he said.

Also Thursday, council members passed a motion adopting a new social media policy.

Mullens said last month he favors giving employees access to websites such as Facebook, but he wants to provide guidelines on what they say and do during and after work.

"They can't just get on there and trash people," he said at the time.The proposed changes would serve as an education lesson for employees who may not be aware that some of the things they say online can come back to haunt them, Mullens had said.


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