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Bettendorf parents attend work session regarding recent behavior issues at middle school

Parents say about 200 people attended the work session at the Waterfront Convention Center.

BETTENDORF, Iowa — Bettendorf Middle School parents participated in a work session hosted by the school district Wednesday night, May 25 at the Waterfront Convention Center.

It comes after parents and staff alleged behavior issues at the school, including vandalism, students skipping class and fighting.

News 8 was among three news organizations not permitted to enter the Waterfront Convention Center to observe the work session between district staff and parents. 

Communications director for the Bettendorf School District Celeste Miller said the meeting was a "private event."

Before entering the convention center, parents were optimistic the meeting would help address issues and create avenues for change.

After that nearly two-hour meeting, though, parents emerged to say the session was focused on small-group discussions and some presentations from the district administration.

"I would say that it was encouraging," Ryan McGivern said. "I think what will be important is the follow-up after this and what happens next and hopefully transparency on what actions are being taken."

RELATED: Mother of Bettendorf Middle School student speaks out on bullying claims

"I would have liked tonight to have had the opportunity for Doctor Morse to let maybe one person from each table stand up and talk, to let the parents talk," Melissa Zumdome said.

"There is still that inkling in the back of my mind of what's really going to be taken from on the district's side of things and what are they going to do," Jacob Beardsley said.

Another parent wanted to record and stream Wednesday's meeting for parents who could not attend and for parents of incoming middle school students, who were not invited to the work session.

That same parent was told he could not record or stream the meeting and was asked to bring his equipment to his car before returning to participate in the work session.

Parents said the district plans to take the feedback from Wednesday's meeting and make changes to implement in the upcoming school year.

The Bettendorf School Board will meet 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26 for a regularly scheduled meeting. The agenda includes a middle school update but does not detail what exactly about that school the board will discuss.

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