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Education | Health
Fort Peck Tribes concerned about principal's private 'pep talk'


A principal at a public school on the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana is facing criticism after publicly singling out a group of students who were failing at least one class.

Patricia Black of the Poplar Middle School called out the students' names during an assembly last month. After the others left, she gave them what she said was a private pep talk but parents are upset that their children were singled out.

"Their privacy rights were violated," Suzanne Turnbull, the mother of a student who was called out during the assembly, told The Great Falls Tribune. "She set these students up for ridicule and bullying."

The issue is sensitive because five students from the school committed suicide last year. There were also 20 suicide attempts.

"I think their mental well-being is fragile right now and there could be, well, how do I put it, there could be an impact, considering what happened last year," Dale Fourbear, the director of education for the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, told the Associated Press.

Black, who is in her first year as principal, said she didn't mention during the assembly why the children were called out."I didn't say that these kids have F's. I did not say that I was ashamed of them or anything like that," she told the AP.

Parents want Black to be punished or possibly fired for her actions.

Get the Story:
Poplar board hears protests over alleged shaming of 'F' students (The Great Falls Tribune 10/12)
Principal under fire at Native American middle school with high suicide rate (AP 10/11)
Poplar principal under fire (The Great Falls Tribune 10/11)