Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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May 2, 2013

Bedford leader defends teacher ‘crybabies’ remark

BEDFORD, Va. — Bedford County Supervisor Annie Pollard is standing by her comment that some teachers are “crybabies.”

Pollard drew the ire of teachers and county school board members after she made the comment last week at a Board of Supervisors meeting in response to an earlier request by some teachers for more school funding from the county.

“If you’re asking me to rob taxpayers that can’t afford, a lot of them, to pay what they are already paying, to pay a bunch of crybabies, that’s not going to happen,” Pollard said.

School board Chariman Gary Hostutler told the News & Advance this week that Pollard’s comment was uncalled for and demeaning. Robert Holmes, president of the Bedford County Parent Teacher Association Council, also criticized the comment.

“What she said was wrong, unprofessional and childish,” Holmes told the newspaper. “If you don’t think they deserve the money, that’s one thing. But you don’t call them ‘crybabies.’ The teachers were really taken back by it.”

On Wednesday, Pollard issued a statement saying her comment was directed to a few teachers, specific school board members and school staff. She said the county has some of the best teachers in Virginia and she applauded anyone dedicated to children.

“You certainly have the right to speak and I’m committed to hearing you out and taking reasonable concerns under consideration,” she said. “I know that most teachers would not present themselves as disrespectfully and uninformed as some.”

She also defended the county’s funding for the school system.

“Also keep in mind, that while you’re trusted with the education of children, taxpayers count on me to protect their tax dollars,” she said. “It isn’t always easy to find the balance, but I think most of us are committed to getting it right.”

Pollard said the school board decides whether to increase teachers’ salaries.

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