by: Stephanie Maxwell Updated:
A minister is helping a Charlotte elementary school after witnessing poor behavior on a school bus.
Eyewitness News anchor Stephanie Maxwell explains how the problem turned into a community partnership between the two.
Once students leave Allenbrook Elementary for the day, their learning continues at Christ Resurrection Church's after-school program.
The Rev. Kenneth Gilliard wasn't happy with what he saw last spring when the school bus dropped off the students at the church.
“(They were) hanging out the window,” Gilliard said. “There were fights on that bus about every day. Our kids would get off, (and) some got off crying.”
The principal admits that it was a huge problem.
“We had been having a lot of frustrations with students on buses,” principal Katharine Bonasera said.
Gilliard made an appointment to see Bonasera because he was frustrated.
“It started out like we're going to go head-to-head with each other over these buses, but there was a moment of understanding,” Bonasera said.
“We asked Ms. Bonesara, 'What do you need?' and I'm like, ‘We're going to do this,’” Gilliard said.
A parent-teacher association for Allenbrook has been formed in partnership with the church, which the low-performing school had been lacking.
Christ Resurrection member Lucian Cooke-Senior volunteered to be the PTA president and is working to get parents to join and participate.
“Since I've gotten involved, I found out that a lot of the weight was falling on the teachers,” Cooke-Senior said. “That cannot be.”
Now he's an advocate for Allenbrook, making sure students and teachers are appreciated, with backing from the minister and the church.
“We know it's going to work,” Gilliard said. “We're not going to quit. We know it's going to work.”
Allenbrook Elementary’s PTA is raising money and collecting donations for students to participate in special activities.
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