Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia


May 8, 2008

Your Opinion: May 9, 2008

In defense of private schools

On April 17, 2008, I read with interest, in the Americus Times-Recorder, Mrs. Suzanne Nordwall’s comments concerning her son’s happy experience in the Sumter County School System. However, she expressed some opinions about private schools that are simply not true. Southland Academy has a very diverse population with students attending or having attended from Korea, India, China, Germany and France. Now if Mrs. Nordwall is referring to blacks, Southland has black students who have graduated, and others who will graduate in the near future. Some have attended since kindergarten. Octavia Felton, a black student, graduated with honors in the Class of 2006. All of Southland’s students have experiences outside the classroom, including trips to Spain, France, Germany, the nation’s capital and many fine arts experiences too numerous to name.

To say that Southland is a segregated school is a total untruth. Southland Academy, as do all member schools of the Georgia Independent School Association, maintain a policy, as has appeared in the past in this newspaper, of non-discrimination according to race, religion or sex in its enrollment policies.

The last time I checked, America was a free country. That means that parents have a choice as to schooling their children. Southland is one of the choices. It is my opinion that Americus and Sumter County would be hurt economically without Southland Academy. Parents considering moving to this area have a choice of two systems. Some of them will not move to Americus and Sumter County if they do not have a private school, with Southland’s reputation, which offers a viable alternative to public education.

I have been in Americus since 1949, and was headmaster of Southland Academy from 1971-1996. What gives you, Mrs. Nordwall, a newcomer, the right to cast negative implications on a school that has the reputation for academic excellence that Southland has all over the state, the Southeast and other areas of our nation?

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