Bolton High School:

When I left for college, Bolton High School had an enrollment comparable to ASH– 1,100 or so students. Today, the Town Talk reported about how local schools are coping with population INCREASES.

Five years ago, Bolton was one of the state’s academic powerhouses, and perhaps it’s still attracting top-notch students because of its gifted program (and then likely losing some of them to the Louisiana School).

Today, the Town Talk reported that Bolton has an enrollment of 603 students. 603!

I have a few questions:

What happened?

I’ve heard Bolton was seventh in the state in ACT scores just a few years ago. What is it now?

Who is Bolton’s principal and what are his/her qualifications/academic agenda?

How does the School Board plan on turning Bolton around?

426 thoughts

  1. When I was @ Bolton (1997) it was the most diverse school in Alex. It is truely sad that this beautiful stone colossus has been reduced to a mere 600 kids. Bolton is screaming “Art School!”

  2. Well, did anyone read the Town Talks article today about the 14 year old boy getting held up at gunpoint by three guys. Who then proceded to take his shirt and his money AND his shoes from him on the FRONT LAWN of Bolton High School. There is your answer.

  3. This is a community problem. This leads to a larger need to step up law enforcement in that area. Even with that crime there are still some diehard Bears that will keep the legacy going.

    Is it ironic that Bolton is a fallout sheltor/sanctuary and at the same time kids are getting robbed for their gear.

  4. Wane Denley was at one time heading up a group of alumni to gain support for the school. I suggest calling him and see what is happening. Many successful Alexandrians (who live here and other places) graduated from here. Support Bolton and support regrowth of the older parts of our city and you will really see some great things happen to Alexandria. We need to look to the good parts of our past to shape and form a new identity for our city.

  5. A little over a year after Penny Tony took over as principal, Bolton saw an exodus of over half it’s student population, as well as about 35% of its faculty. Almost none of those teachers were reassigned arbitrarily, by the way. They requested to be transferred. Many of those teachers were respected faculty pillars who were as much a part of Bolton High School as the furniture.

    Don’t fall into the mold of thinking that the “area” is the reason for Bolton’s decline. In recent years, Hill and Vance have improved dramatically. Tony ran that school into the ground, and they are stll paying for it.

  6. PS–Sorry about my it’s vs. its problems. I was typing in a hurry. Also, I think her name might be spelled “Toney,” but I forget.


  7. You’re mistaken. Toney is not the reason for Bolton’s decline. John Sams is. Sams wanted to make Bolton into a votech school, and Toney stood up to him– Sams orchestrated this “exodus” as a way of getting even.

    Speaking of Wayne Denley, He wanted to run against Sams for School Board, and guess what Dr. Sams did?

    He made sure that Albert Street was written out of the district! That’s not a conspiracy theory, John, that’s a fact.

    Thank God we won’t have to suffer through Sams on the School Board ever again. He’s finished.

  8. It was the board that caused the enrollment problem in the first place. In 2000 the board changed the attendance zones and started the M to M transfers. That move took Bolton from over 1000 students to about 600 and it has stayed at about this number ever since. The numbers will change when the parish is declared unitary and there are no more M to M transfers. Despite what some people have implied the scores at Bolton remain some of the hifhest in the state. This year Bolton’s ACT score was the highest by far in the parish and remains in the top 10 in the state. The academic rally team won sweepstakes for the 19th year in a row and the only National Merit Finalist in the area was from Bolton. Bolton continues to have the highest GEE scores in the parish having more students scoring Mastery and Advanced than any other school in the parish. The quality of the educators at Bolton is as strong as it has ever been.

    Where were you and the other Bolton supporters five years ago when the school board decimated Bolton’s district?

  9. To the person who said Bolton lost a great deal of its population the year after Ms. Toney took over. Yes? Why? A deseg order that took over 400 kids from Bolton’s zone and cut it on 3 sides; a deseg order approved by the board, including John Sams. 35% of its faculty? Hardly. Of course, that first year, there were moves because of the cut in enrollment and the usual transfers, much like Mr. Akins or Mr. Doyle’s administrations. Ms. Toney, in fact, was a strong academic leader. As a parent of a child there, I knew this, and so do all people who take the time to look at her record, and not the one set forth by John Sams and his minions. She helped lead the school in raising its SPS by over 25 points in her four years. She brought the school to rank #7 in state ACT. She secured state and federal recognition for the school by having it named a High Poverty/High Performing School, not once but twice. She was 5 years ahead of the Rapides Foundation in Professional Learning Communities. My child and many others benefitted from her hard work and her recruitment. But, she demanded that people work, and if they didn’t want to, she encouraged them to find work elsewhere. She also couldn’t be run by John Sams when he wanted the school to be a VoTech. Yes, a votech. Now, the school suffers and has lost over one hundred more kids due to the transfer of Ms. Toney and the loss of many other qualified personnel. I, for one, chose to send my last daughter back to ASH, our home zone, from which I had transferred my eldest child, when they moved Ms. Toney out and this new guy in. Check the rolls at ASH; we are not alone. Many of the almost 80 students that used to transfer from ASH to Bolton for its academics now opt to leave their children at ASH. Ms. Toney might have been tough, and she had problems, but her record speaks for itself. She even helped form the alumni association to help Bolton get the things it needed. I was a parent who was there when she and two kids spoke up at the District 62 meeting, where, I recall, Herbert Dixon, said to Mr. Sams: this is the first we have heard of all the disrepair at Bolton; why have you not brought this to our attention? So, get over it, those of you who listen to the likes of Charlene Johnson and John Sams. And, yes, I know them well, too. They have no record such as Ms. Toney’s to back them up; only discord and innuendo and those cook books. But the facts speak for themselves. We, as parents, know the truth. Any tax payer who cares to look at the public record of the school board minutes can also know the truth. Just look at how many times John Sams, in his tenure as board member, actually voted for and against this fine school. It is a sad day when politics runs a school, but that, and nothing else, is the problem at Bolton. Thank goodness John Sams is off the school board come January.

  10. Hahaha. No, but considering it’s on the School Board’s website and I’m a taxpayer and a voter, I don’t think they’ll be sending me a cease and desist letter like the Town Talk did.

    Plus, it’s not credited on the School Board’s site either.

  11. To be honest, I’ve heard that before from more than one person. I’m just not sure how a school board member could redraw district lines; isn’t that done by another body, the Police Jury?

    Please explain.

  12. I think it is time to leave Ms. Toney alone. She has given Bolton over thirty years of her life as a teacher and administrator and still continues to serve the parish at the central office. What is done is done it’s time to let it go and give her some peace.

  13. Bravo Lamar!!

    It is absolutely true that the rezoning issue gutted Bolton’s population and was the biggest contributor to its population decline.

    Ms. Toney deserves all the praise possible; she held her students and faculty to a higerh standard and the results speak for themselved.

    Ms. Toney is a woman of conviction and that, unfortunately, was her downfall. She challenged Dr. Sams and call BS on him as needed. Like every other issue, Sams did not rest until she was eliminated.

    Look at the school leadership teams under Toney and Higgins: under toney you had dedicated, highly skilled, caring faculty. That same team is now comprised of Dr. Sams lemmings: Monroe, Johnson, etc. He has made it his mission to wipe every vest of PST from BHS. Its a sad shame, but the truth.

    Give Bolton a fighting chance: Balance the zones and remove Bill Higgins ASAP.

    Lamar, I say this to you and all other distinguished BHS alumni. Bill Higgins will be the last principal of BHS unless something is done. He is Sams puppet governor at BHS.

  14. Ms. Toney is one of the finest educators in this state, if not this nation. Those of you who don’t know facts need to get them before you spout off your ridiculous opinions. What you hear on the streets is John Sams’ propoganda. He’s got spies that are disgruntled employees.

    Bolton’s new principal came from White Castle High School in Iberville parish. White Castle’s school performance score for 2003-04 was 62.0. The state average was 87.4. Bolton’s was 109.5. In 2004 White Castle’s average ACT score was a 16.2, the state’s average was a 19.8, the nation’s average was a 20.9, Bolton’s was a 22.8.

    Mr. Jones assured Bolton’s faculty in the spring of 2004 that he would be hiring a “competent” and wonderful principal for Bolton. How on God’s green earth could anyone think that this man – the man that led his former school to such poor performance – would be right to lead an academic powerhouse like Bolton? If that’s not “corruption” (hear that, Dr. Sams?) I don’t know what is.

    Want to know who disliked Ms. Toney? The teachers who got reprimanded for leaving class to go smoke, the teachers who couldn’t stand it that they couldn’t be in charge of everything, the teachers who were too lazy to turn in lesson plans and show up to do their assigned duty, the teachers who showed up late regularly, and basically, the teachers who refused to do their job to the best of their ability. Good riddance to them!

    The Rapides Parish School Board made three huge mistakes in reference to Bolton:

    1. Cutting their zone.

    2. Removing Ms. Toney.

    3. Hiring Mr. Higgins (who, rumor has it, actually applied to be principal at Aiken Optional).

  15. Thank you, Lamar, for posting this topic. The time for the people of Alexandria to know the truth about how bad Bolton has gotten is long overdue.

  16. Please forgive me for going off-topic a little bit and discussing the quality of education at my alma mater, Alexandria Senior High School.

    First of all, I had always wanted to attend Bolton, but due to factors somewhat beyond my control, I attended ASH.

    When I matriculated into high school, Bolton was called the academic powerhouse in our community; however, during the late 90s, ASH also had a great academic reputation. During my four years, ASH graduated several national merit finalists, one Louisiana Student of the Year, and a number of state champions in forensic events. We also had outstanding mock trial and quiz bowl teams, both of whom made it into the state semi-finals while I attended. In other words, Bolton may have had the gifted programs (and many, many brilliant students), but as I recall, ASH students somehow accomplished more academic feats (I don’t mean to make anyone mad).

    That said, my overall experience at ASH was a negative one. Although many of my teachers were excellent (Looper, Watson, Graff, Newton, Hemingway, Gingras, Smith, and I know I’m probably leaving a few out), there were a handful who seemed more interested in being petty and vindictive. That handful really dampered the school’s character.

    Moreoever, I found that ASH (and for that matter almost every other high school in Cenla) was, on the whole, more focused on athletics than academics, more willing to promote coaches than life-long educators, and more consumed by popularity contests than real learning. Consider that ASH routinely rejected its top students for its National Honor’s Society chapter, yours truly included, to the point at which a group of National Merit Finalists branched off and formed the National Dishonor Society. Why were we rejected? Not because of any disciplinary or academic problems (I can think of only one student where this was the case), but because a handful of teachers believed we did not possess the necessary character (and none of us were very “popular”).

    This is the kind of crap that went on (and no doubt, still goes on). We worry more about school uniforms and metal detectors than we worry about I.B. programs or AP classes (I was at least a semester behind 95% of the kids at Rice when I arrived due to the lack of AP classes) or creative teaching and learning methods.

    So what’s my point? I guess it’s that if our school system is really as awesome as one candidate would like us to believe, I want to know what measurable statistics can back up this argument. And then, I think we should conduct interviews with recent alumns to find out what they felt about their academic experience.

  17. Since someone asked and since John Sams is running on HONESTY and INTEGRITY, just how did he in first campaign for school board member run when, in fact, he did not even live in the district and had to rent an apartment within it, and two, when he campaigned for his second term, just how did he bargain his way to getting the police jury to magically remove Albert Street from Bolton’s voting district, thus removing a Bolton alum and respected businessman (Wayne Denley) as his competitor.

    Furthermore, what alumni list (many 1000s of names and addresses) did he demand as a board member and have the superintendent deliver to him, even though the administrator stood by the copyright rule which stated that:
    This directory is for official school and alumni association use and also for individual communication of a personal nature between members listed herein. Use of this directory for any other purpose, including, but not limited to, reproducing and storing in a retrieval system by any means, elecronic or otherwise, photocopying or using the addresses or any other information in this directory for any private, commercial, or POLITICAL mailing is strictly prohibited and is direct violation of copyright and constitutes misappropriation of corporate property.

    John has a pattern of questionable ethics in his dealings with others. I was surprised to hear him say last night that he got the truth from people who talked to him. Certainly, this rang true. He only talks (on a regular basis) to the people who are as angry and destructive as he is. Surely the citizens of Alexandria do not see this man possessing either honesty or integrity.

  18. Like you Lamar I graduated in ’99 but from Bolton. I have to say my education was bar none the best in the area and helped immensely in preperation for college. The same rings true of my brother (’94) who attended both ASH and Bolton.

    Teachers such as Metoyer, Barry Lee, Gourges, Bordelon, Johnson, Self, Monroe, and Sanders all inspired me and made sure that I at least tried to hit my potential (I didn’t but high school bored me to tears). My AP classes (which included John Sams’ daughter) and honors classes were academically tough and provided a great foundation for my interests in broad subject areas. I am thankful for that.

    BUT I am saddened by the decline the school has taken. During my undergrad and grad years I missed out on a lot of the turmoil which makes me wish I was around. The aura of the school has changed since I was last there. Walking around the hallways last Monday felt weird and the school felt it lost a lot of character. Perhaps it was just me getting older. Maybe it was the change in focus the school has taken. Football is now king.

  19. I graduated from Bolton last year and was glad to get a principal that cared about all of the programs that we participated in. He supported us in everything we did in both academics and athletics. It was great looking up and seeing our principal there supporting us.

  20. I know that in Vernon Parish the School Board sets its own districts, as does the Police Jury and they’re usually different. For what reasons? I haven’t a clue, but it’s probably politically motivated. Why a parish of much fewer students than Rapides needs 15 (formerly), 12 now is beyond me. They could get the same or better job done with 9 or even 7 but they’ve gotten entrenched in their little empires and are no doubt going to die before changing.

    I’m not sure if Rapides Police Jury and School Board districts are the same but I thought I’d give another parish’s layout.

    I also know that one member can’t change a district willy-nilly, it has to be voted on, etc.

  21. Principal Higgins doesn’t actually do anything. Everyone knows Nancy Monroe is running that school. Higgins is too lazy to do anything. Plus, if you do nothing, and delegate everything, there is someone available to blame.

  22. I graduated Bolton High School in 2005, when it was the 7th in the state for ACT scores. That, my friends, is merely the tip of what Bolton accomplished. People were so determined to change Bolton into a different school. But what were they trying to change it to? A school that is great at sports? Don’t get me wrong, I was at every football game and tried to support all our teams which the majority of my friends were heavily involved in. I also believe being well-rounded is key to acquiring the true high school experience, but now that the administration has been gutted and flipped, you have a school with an academic persona inferior to what it was and a sports program that isn’t much better than what it was (good, not bad in the least).
    When I was a freshman, enrollment was much higher than the rest of my time there. The teams were better. People were more involved. But, our zones were allotted to other schools. No one could help that, and the fall in enrollment was definitely not the doing of Penny Toney and her administration. Ever since then, people have had a chip on their shoulder about Bolton High School. My sophomore year, we had a lot fewer students, true. But, we carried on learning, participating, growing, just as before. Yet, people still pointed fingers at the principal and her way of running things.
    Penny Toney was robbed of a job she did extremely well. Every time she made a decision, she had the students’ well being in mind. I know this because I worked very close with her when I was Student Body president. People (students, parents, etc.) were always doting on her words, looking for something wrong. She was under the microscope, and there were so-called community leaders that were waiting for her to slip up so they could blurt out “I told you so.” Those people know nothing about Ms. Toney, the way she felt about Bolton High School, or her passion for learning and educating. That woman loved her job, and her only concern was the students. Not just the gifted students, not just the honors students, but all the students. She is still one of the most intelligent, creative, and influential people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting in my life.
    My four years at Bolton were amazing. The learning environment was mature and open. In fact, many of my college classes are set up in the same manner as many of the Bolton classes I took. Going to Bolton was an investment in my future. I left confident in my intelligence and skills, as I know many if not all of my peers feel the same way. Bolton taught us that it is not always about being book smart but it’s about having something to say.
    I still have a few friends that attend BHS and, to be honest, they don’t like it. They don’t like the new principal, nor the changes he has made. Why are they fixing something that is clearly not broken, in fact, it was working rather efficiently. Bolton may not be in an ideal location, but I never felt unsafe there. It may not have the most up to date facilities, but its history is amazing. It may not have had 1000 students, but the sense of community was alive in its traditions. Those traditions have all seemed to flicker out with all this change. That is really the crime in this whole situation. Losing Peney Toney was only the catalyst. Losing insanely insightful and intelligent teachers like Kelly Self, is just a sign of the downfall. But, once the traditions of BHS are dead, the high school I attended, the place that I think back on with fond memories with my best friends, the place where I truly learned about life, the place that literally made me who I am today, will disappear. It will just be a building, just 2101 Vance.
    Look at the leaders of Alexandria today. I may be going out on a ledge here, but I would say that many illustrious members of our community are alumni of Bolton High School. Now I am talking to those people. You are part of the history, the tradition. And so I ask you, why are we letting this happen? Why are we standing idly by as a large part of each of us is deconstructed. Why are we letting tradition die? Remember, it’s about having something to say.
    Thank you for reading,
    Robert Freedman, III

  23. Well said Mr. Freedman. People do not realize the quality and dedication of the faculty at Bolton. Some faculty members have advanced degrees far beyond a master’s in education.

    Sadly, the root cause of all these troubles is John Sams.

    The faculty, alumni, student, and parents must rise up in a unified chorus if Bolton is to be saved.
    Worse than the faculty being gutted is the poor, inept leadership of Bill Higgins. He must be removed and removed quickly if BHS can be given a fighting chance.

    Speak now or forever hold your peace!!

  24. Wow. So is it safe to say we can just hand the election to John Sams now? I mean, obviously he amassed so much clout on the school board that he was rewriting voting districts, passing policy single-handedly, and I think I saw him once walk on water (but like most people on here, I can’t actually substantiate that). But I agree, it is a shame that Rapides has a school board consisting of one lone, bitter human who throws his weight around (no pun intended) mercilessly. I have an idea, why don’t we elect a school board with more than one person and that way policies can be implemented by committeees representing a majority of the voters in Rapides parish. Oh? What’s that you say? We already have a school board consisting of more than one person? My mistake. Reading this comment list I took away the belief that John Sams killed the other members and forced the children, teachers, and administrators to bow before him each morning. Honest error on my part.

  25. I sincerely pledge that I will always cherish the good name of this school, that I will never disgrace it by word or act, and that I will try to make it a better school because of my presence.

    -The Bolton Pledge

    Does anybody have the lyrics to the fight song?

  26. We stand an pledge our loyalty to you.
    All of our best we gladly give to you.
    Fair will we keep thy fine, unblemished name.
    Bolton, go forth! Win honor, and win fame!

    (from a 1974 graduate whose kids also graduated BHS in 2001 and 2003)

  27. We stand an pledge our loyalty to you.
    All of our best we gladly give to you.
    Fair will we keep thy fine, unblemished name.
    Bolton, go forth! Win honor, and win fame!

    (from a 1974 graduate whose kids also graduated BHS in 2001 and 2003)

  28. The way the politics work in this parish, each school board member claims schools as “theirs” although part of Paul Dauzats district is zoned for Bolton, he is not involved because ASH is “his school”. The board members do not work for the good of the parish, they work for only what they feel is important. Yes, Dr Sams ALONE destroyed Bolton High School. That somehow became his goal on the school board. Have you noticed that since he got his way, he hasn’t even been bothering to attend all the School Board meetings??

  29. Well, well, well…now it’s all out. Bolton’s demise has become public. And the fingers are all pointed at Sams and Jones. Sams for ordering the “hit” on Ms. Toney. And Jones for being a big wuss and not being able to stand up to Sams. Tsk, tsk boys. Your fingerprints are all over this.

    After reading the statistics above of the comparison between White Castle and Bolton, I’m starting to believe the rumor that they plan to close Bolton down. Maybe they put this Higgins guy there to be the last nail in the coffin. That’s the only thing that would make sense to me. Why else would Jones put such an inept person as principal of Bolton?

    I wonder if Jones will still have a job after Sams leaves the school board?

  30. Bolton’s demise was not Sams’ work. That much should be obvious to any unbiased observer. But Robert Friedman goes a little to far in taking the blame off of Toney. He is right in saying Toney did not cause the exodus of students that Bolton has seen in the last 7-8 years. The transfer system set up at that time allowed students with less, shall we say, ambition to leave Bolton, which carried the stigma of academic excellence (and the concomitant difficulty, from the students’ point of view). So students began to head to ASH, which rightfully so or not is perceived as Alexandria’s bastion of sporting excellence and an academic cake-walk.

    But Friedman is a bit misinformed about some other points. The faculty flight was in direct response to Toney’s policy of creating an inner-circle among the teachers and administrators. I recall reading a letter on the subject written by a Bolton educator (who had left because of Toney, but has now returned, so I won’t use their name) describing this problem and the effect it had on the school. Students were intimidated from going forth with complaints about Mr. Friedman’s very own Kelly Self because of a lack of confidentiality. Faculty and staff blended to an unprofessional degree, breaking down the normal checks within the school system. This in turn led to the exodus of Bolton’s finest teachers. Does anyone truly think it is a coincidence that some of these teachers immediately began to trickle back in the second Toney left?

    These two events have left Bolton what it is today, and I have no idea whether the current principal and superintendant will be able to rectify the matter. But the school board’s transfer policy that affected the entire region and was put to a vote by all of the members was one cause and Toney was the other. To single out an individual school board member for the recession of a particular school in a particular period of time is beyond fair reasoning.

  31. “I recall reading a letter on the subject written by a Bolton educator (who had left because of Toney, but has now returned, so I won’t use their name) describing this problem and the effect it had on the school.”

    Yeah, it’s Charlene Johnson. She’s only there because Sams threw yet another hissy fit (the one in which he slammed out the door, which is documented on one of the blogs) because Brian Parmley got the assistant principal’s job and as usual, the big brat gets what he wants. He needed a spy, for God’s sake! How else would he know who to get transferred next????

    Charlene left Bolton because the job of department chairperson rotated off of her to someone else (something that happens in EVERY department). She got mad that she wasn’t “the boss” and asked for a transfer. Ms. Toney told her no because Charlene was teaching AP classes, and where the hell would Ms. Toney have found another AP teacher on such short notice?

    I wonder why Sams is so tight with Charlene Johnson, seeing as how he was the one who got her fired for verbally berating a kid at Country Day. What did she do to make that change? Kiss his immense posterier, I would imagine. They’ve got some deal going. I smell a rat.

  32. Here are the certifications that Bill Higgins (current principal at Bolton) holds, according to the Teach Louisiana website:

    A 052293 02/11/1994 Life, Valid


    General Area(s) Of Certification:
    PRINCIPAL, Grade(s):K-12, 03/07/1994
    JOURNALISM, Grade(s):6-12, 02/11/1994
    HEALTH AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION, Grade(s):K-12, 02/11/1994

    A coach. What a shock!

  33. People keep talking about a “mass exodus” of teachers because of Penny Toney. Who are they? I’ve asked that question a number of times, but no one answers.

  34. To Anonymous that suggests the teachers are trickleing back to Bolton High School, the only teacher that has trickled back is Charlene Johnson and she strutted back. She actually thought she would be received with open arms because of her association with Sams. Problem is people know she is up Sams’ rear and they do not trust her. The only person who sides with her is “Wimpy”, aka Brian Parmley. That is because he is afraid of Higgins, Sams, and his own shadow. The air was let out of Charlene’s baloon when Higgins made Nancy Monroe his chief of staff making a no win situation for Higgins, Charlene and BHS. Check it out people! Bolton High School is the laughing stock of Rapides Parish and the one that is laughing the hardest is John Sams. Careful who you vote for. If this lunatic is elected Mayor he will abuse all the power given to him making Alexandria another Nazi Germany.

  35. Students with less “ambition” did leave to go to ASH. Students also left AJH to go to Brame as 6th graders, then stayed with their friends and went to ASH.

    But the zone change was the main cause of the student shift. Students that were zoned to Bolton, are now zoned to Tioga and Pineville (so they could have minority students) If you doubtit, check test scores. Boltons went up and Tiogas went down. They got some Sonia Quarters students.

    Students that live on some parts of Vance avenue are now zoned to pineville. That is not anyones fault but the school board.

  36. “I recall reading a letter on the subject written by a Bolton educator (who had left because of Toney, but has now returned, so I won’t use their name) describing this problem and the effect it had on the school.”

    You must be talking about Charlene Johnson, the direct link from Bolton High School to John Sams. She even gave a testimonial on his web site. Now she has the job as librarian. She doesn’t teach ANY students, so i would not call her a teacher, unless you count her Brigton Hall ACT school that she works on in the evening. I guess it is all politics.

  37. The ONLY teacher that came back when Penny Toney left was Charlene Johnson. Unless i am wrong, or you are refering to some worthless coaches.

  38. nancy monroe made nancy monroe chief of staff. She is convienced that the world will end if she is not in charge of everything. She gets to the school before the sun comes up and stays until dark. her goal is to ruin everyone’s life.

    All the students are scared of her. She blackballs students from NHS. She is a bitter little TROLL. She needs to retire. That would be the best thing for BOLTON.

  39. Although some things have happened to change the student population at Bolton, the problem is, this city has more high school space than it has high school students. Peabody should have been closed instead of rebuilt. There is enough space to absorb all the students at other schools in the parish.

    Since the new Peabody was built, and is an exceelnt facility, maybe Bolton schould be closed.

  40. So the question I’m struggling with in this whole matter is motivation. Why would Toney want to divide the school? Why would Sams want to run the school into the ground? The assertions are great, but would someone explain to me any real logic behind the decline of bolton? if this is a calculated agenda by someone (anyone), the obvious question attached to it should be “why?”. who would gain from deliberately sabotaging bolton?

  41. Sams wants everyone to know he has power. Since he won his battle with the school board and ms. toney, he has moved on to save the city. Wow, where will we be 4 years after he is elected mayor.

    I still would love a list of the teachers that left because of Penny Toney.

  42. Toney did not divide the school. The “inner circle” which has been spoken of and lambasted was the leadership team. Mind you, every faculty member was invited to join the leadership team and notified of every single meeting. The people who made up the team were those who chose to stay after school and do extra work. That’s it. That’s what all the big deal about the “inner circle” is about. The members of the leadership team were afforded no special treatment. They simply cared enough about Bolton to take their own free time to network with other educators about how to make their school a better place for all its students.

    What an outrage, huh? They should all be hung!

  43. A solution would be to make Bolton an International Baccularette (IB) school while also making it the premier Arts/Sciences school in the district. One of the major draws for Bolton in the past was its AP program which drew students from all over. This may not be feasible but if it can be done, then maybe we can have a school that focuses purely on academic merit.

    Another solution would be to follow Milton Friedman’s model and privatize the school. Perhaps make it into the boarding school serving Louisiana. I dislike this idea though.

    The teacher cliques at Bolton were visible to the students even if they tried to work in secret. Monroe-Self-Toney all worked together and made sujre each other benefited from their objectives. But this isn’t just a Bolton problem. The same can be seen at Tioga High and ASH where the teachers all keep seperated in their own little fiefdoms.

    Another little problem at Bolton was being male. Your English grade suffered as a male in comparison with the female students who routinely made A’s and B’s with subpar papers. Numbers of students ,past and present, had their papers checked by English professors and were rewarded with a D for their efforts.

  44. Sams sabatoged Bolton to GET PENNY TONEY. He didn’t care that he was taking down the best school in the district, he wanted vengance at any cost. Of course, he waited until his own kids graduated. How convenient.

  45. Charlean,
    Please. At least three people asked me today what you were typing on so hard back on your computer, particularly when Cottrell had to come help you. Now, we all know. Your hatred should be exercised on your own time; the Rapides Parish School Board is paying enough for your time now for you to be at Bolton as a “free teacher.” And, please keep working on those tell-tale SAT words that only you use in such a way. Yes, you returned. Surely you aren’t going there with Charlotte Bryant. Stop the hatred. Get a life. Facts are facts. Stats are stats. Your spin is your spin.

  46. And to the person who writes about the grade suffering because you were a male, you must clarify and say, “in Nancy Monroe’s class.” Some of the other English teachers were absolutely the best.

  47. again i’m seeking clarification, why did sams go after penny toney? she defied him? that’s rather vague. give me an example, some policy she bucked, some occasion she ratted him out for eating mary poppins (see previous thread). i can’t just accept the fact that sams was born with some kinda hatred for all things named penny toney. could someone please substantiate the claim that bolton is in tatters (relatively speaking) because john sams hates toney?

  48. I think it all started when she did not give in to Andy Sams and his ACLU club. You know the one he wanted to start, but not follow any of the parish rules on student organizations. She was screwed from that point forward. Screwed if she din’t do what Andy wanted, but also screwed if she didn’t follow the school board rules.

  49. No one really knows why he hates people. Why did he hate Ron Akins? Why did he hate Patsy Jenkins? or Lyle Hutchinson? or Penny? Why did he go after the people who started the Rapides Foundation? Why does he fire patients who dare to seek a second opinion? It’s his way of life. Specifically, with Ron and Penny, they refused to cow-tow to his every whim. Ron finally just avoided him. Penny took the superintendent at his word when he came and said a board member’s place is to make policy and that he would deal with board members. Sams thought Penny would do what he told her, that she was a female, who certainly would follow the good doctor’s advice. He wanted Bolton to be a Vocational Tech school and for Peabody to grow to be the academic center of the parish, he wanted to pick the athletic director, he wanted to hire personnel, he wanted to be consulted on every decision. One “slap” that is public record is when Bolton was approved for the more than 400,000 in renovations, that had been guaranteed by a bond issue. Penny and alum and students and parents and faculty spoke at District 62, a committee of which Sams is a member. Dixon said it was the first time the committee had heard of Bolton’s poor physical shape. So, the money was granted. The next week Penny “disobeyed” and he subsequently, urged the board to reconsider the monies just allotted to Bolton, that perhaps there were “other, more pressing needs.” I know. It sounds like a bad soap opera. But, sadly, it is the truth. He just loves power. And seeks to destroy those who deserve it more than he.

  50. As a Bolton alum and an educator, I have to reply to the desire to make Bolton an IB-type school. Yet another fantastic idea of Sams’. However, all of us, as taxpayers, know that we simply do not have the finances for such a school in this parish. That horse has long been dead. And as for the great AP curriculum. Sadly, Sams has even worked to destroy it. Just this July, Kelly Self, AP English Lit teacher–a young woman who is Nationally Board Certified and about to pursue a PhD–was transferred because of John Sams; Cory Barnette, AP History teacher–a young man who is in pursuit of a PhD–was harassed so much by Charlene Johnson that he, in his own words, chose to transfer himself to Pineville before someone else could do it for him; Stephanie Marcotte, AP Calculus teacher, was demoted from her AP courses; Cathy Martinez, AP science teacher, was demoted from most of her honors courses—Why? My son had all four of these excellent teachers, all whose scores speak for themselves as well as the testimonies of my son’s peers like Mr. Robert Freedman. These teachers were all hard workers, but they opposed the status quo. So, please. As much I hate to admit it, there is no longer any concern for the academically excellent at Bolton High School, and this, again, comes directly at the hands of John Sams.

  51. Thank you Anons 9:30 and 9:47. I can’t for myself verify whether your statements are 100% accurate at the moment, but at least you laid a concrete trail that can be analyzed (unlike Anon 9:15 who just went with more of the trite, generic trash). Finally someone has tried to establish an argument with data behind it that can be ascertained true or false with a little bit of work. We need far more of that on here and far less of the broad, sweeping accusations with no hint of validity.

  52. Everyone knows that Charlotte Bryant was brought in to replace Ms. Marcotte, who was not cruel enough to the students. Nancy Monroe does not think a teacher has done her job unless she makes at least 2 students cry per week. The same with Corey Barnette. The students actually liked him. God forbid.

    Junior high guidance counselors advise that Nancy Monroe be avoided at all costs.

    By the way, Charlotte Bryant is Nancy Monroe’s best friend.

    A midterm meltdown is predicted just as Sams leaves office.

  53. Why do you need details? Sams talks about the “corruption” in the city and has not given any details. Details don’t matter to him.

  54. We really need to start a CenLamar educators drinking group. Though, if more educators actually got together and discussed issues, which is much akin to herding cats, perhaps we could actively nix ideas such as word walls and other drivel handed down by the Parish. I think a handful of the current problems could be discussed properly and maybe solutions could be thrown about. Action comes through convergence of people and ideas not through a lone wolf’s howl. If anyone is up for it, i’ll post my email.

    As to the Monroe situation. Yes, you’re right. It is mainly her who gives away free grades to females while keeping the males in the academic ghetto. i was hoping someone would catch that. Toney and Self are both guilty of it too. Branch, Roy, Sanders, etc tended to be fair and provided a good scope in their grading habits. Although Coffman is guilty of inflating the grades of cheerleaders, danceline, and student council members. Being a part of one of those activities meant an easy A in Chemistry.

    I have to admit that Bolton was run better by Ron, sexist as he was, due to his hardline stance and decent support staff.

    Then again people have been saying that Wilton Barrios helped to ruin Tioga High.

  55. Let me jump in and apologize quickly, I labeled 74Alum and BlueEyes as Anons. My mistake, I was just skimming the comments and neglected to see who was posting.

  56. Can anyone name something GOOD that John Sams has done for Bolton?

    Good things about the new principal?

    How is he trying to turn things around and attract new students??

    Anybody with anything positive to say??

  57. I have to say, as a male who took classes under monroe and came out with and A, I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. I know for a fact that other males in the class also got A’s. And I also know for a fact that females I knew in the class got C’s. Now this is not to say that all males in my particular class got A’s and females all C’s. I’m just saying, perhaps if my class was representative of overall grade assignment, the males (or parents of males) complaining on here just weren’t cutting it. but seriously, i don’t know. i haven’t seen the grade-assigment chart of nancy monroe broken down by gender.

  58. 1) Can anyone name something GOOD that John Sams has done for Bolton?

    Absolutely, unequivically, NO.

    2) Good things about the new principal?

    He has a nice mink coat.

    3) How is he trying to turn things around and attract new students??

    You mean by demoting qualified teachers and replacing them with political pawns?

    4) Anybody with anything positive to say??

    Yes, if Higgins were to resign.

  59. After the deseg order cut Bolton by 400 students in its initial year and when the parish began an additional transfer policy, for several years under Ms. Toney, Bolton had begun serious recruitment at ALL of the junior highs, complete with Ms. Dufour and student reps. This year? They went to maybe AJH, Brame, and Country Day. But, yes, those athletes are being recruited. Just not many students. And I have to comment on one thing: in reference to Charlene Johnson, who does run Brighton Hall, a supposed “stellar” ACT prep course, which, from my own daughter’s experience, consists of nothing more than practice ACT tests and tips…For years, it was housed at Country Day. Now, she’s at Bolton, then why is Brighton Hall now at ASH? The school that she herself in a prior post called “Alexandria’s bastion of sporting excellence and an academic cake-walk.” Interesting.

  60. Right before I recieved my MA I interviewed at one of the summer job expos for a position at Bolton. This was during Toney’s reign as principal by the way. My interview went well and she was genuinely excited that someone with a strong background in English, especially in the realm of remedial composition, and generally was positive towards my meager CV at the time. I decided to stay the extra year and get some more time under my belt and write my thesis.

    Compare this with Higgins who I interviewed with last year. Higgins could care less about what you have, what your strengths are, and whether you are passionate about your subject area. I ended up spending 20 minutes talking about high school football and his dream of rebuilding a powerhouse program. He took my CV without looking at it and really never said a word concerning the position I was applying for. He then proceeded to spend an hour with a candidate for a coaching position.

  61. 74alum,

    Thank you for your frank and very true comments. The teachers you mentioned are examples of what many have said all along – a dedicated, highly qualified staff.

    Don’t you think that these teachers with their very advanced degrees and training would be welcomed with open arms at another high school in the parish?

    Students, parents, and alumni must speak loudly, clearly, and with solidarity if Sams’ damage is ever to be undone.

  62. For anyone that knows, tell us more about the background , history and schools that the current ‘athletic director ” has been at and why he left.

  63. To anom,
    Of course these teachers were/will be snatched up by another school. Mr. Barnette is at Pineville where he was welcomed by Mr. Lemoine; same case for Ms. Self who went to ASH. The other two mentioned have many options as well. But, they loved Bolton. They wanted to work for its good. The good news is for the other schools.

  64. Let me say this about educators, having been one for 23 years. It is hard, dare I say nearly impossible, for them to come to a consensus about anything. Most tend to associate in small groups in order to maintain friendships. Sadly this carries over into their professional relationships, to the detriment of students. Teachers talk about their students with other teachers and that also effects student relationships with other teachers who have heard the tales, etc.

  65. I am announcing a $1,500 scholarship for a 2007 Bolton graduate that attended Rosenthal Elementary for at least 3 years. I believe in Bolton, and having taught there for 7 years, I know that there will always be people, be they at Bolton or not, who will rise to the occasion of saving an institution that has enriched the lives of so many people. Bolton may only have 600 or so students, but it is not the quantity of the students who are there, it is the quality of the education and support they receive that counts. For those who truly care about the school and those 600 students who are there, lets commit ourselves to letting them know that we are in their corner and that we will do whatever it takes to aid them in their preparation for life. Lets take some steps to help the administration, the staff, the students, the parents, the community in anyway we can. For the sake of those 600, lets lift Bolton up, in any way we can.

  66. Sir or Madame:
    You are a very high quality human being. Thank you for your sincere interest. I wish my meager resources would permit me to do the same.

  67. I am appauld and sadden that people in this parish have nothing better to do with their time than gossip and spread vicious crap that isn’t even accurate or true. Yes, some things on this blog site are true but the majority is not. Whoever called Brian Parmley a whimp obviously does not know him. Afraid of his own shadow? I think not. He just happens to be the one thing over there that could change things around if given the chance. I wish that you all would find positive things to do with your time other than sitting around bashing the schools in this parish. Are teachers here for the students (no matter what school they go to) or to find the negative (which is easy to do)?

    Please get a reality check and find something positive to do with your time other than being rude and cruel about other people.

  68. While the comment about Brian Parmley might be off, everything that’s been said about John Sams and Charlene Johnson is 100% TRUE. Deal with it.

  69. “Please get a reality check and find something positive to do with your time other than being rude and cruel about other people.”

    We didn’t ask for this war but fight it we must.

    Beginning with Penny Toney and moving on down through all the teachers mentioned herein almost everything said is true. I say that not because I “think” it or I “heard” but becasue I LIVED it. I saw John Sams at BHS numerous times each week giving Ms. Toney holy hell.

    Look at BHS pre and post Toney. The so called school improvement team is filled with Sams hand picked puppets upon recommendation of Monroe of course. Every member of the same team under Toney has been transferred or been asssigned to other duties. (Ref: the post regarding Self, Barnett etc.)

    It is quite obvious Higgins has been tasked with removing every vestage of Toney and those who worked with her.

    Hearing the truth hurts but it must be heard for the sake of Bolton, both its legacy and its students.

  70. You have heard nothing good about Higgins because there is nothing good to say.

    No. There are no plans to attract students. How can you attract students when wonderful, caring, highly qualified AP teachers are inexplicably removed from their classes? Why would I transfer to Bolton for a mediocre teacher when I already have one at my current school? Bottom line: Higgins has not positioned his faculty for success and therefor will not be able to attract new students.

  71. Higgins went to recruit last year at Country Day. He bragged to the 8th graders that “We’ve only had two fights at school this year.” Boy, that’ll attract ’em.

    He can’t recruit any other way because he doesn’t know how. Ask the people who worked with him at ASH what they think of him.

    Ms. Toney was always about EVERY child. She was concerned with the growth, well being, and education of the gifted kids, the special ed kids, and even the “average bear.” The bashing of her that has been done on this blog has been completely untrue. People have asked for names of teachers who left because of Ms. Toney, and whatever moron that made the allegation can’t give up the information. Why? Because it’s BS.

    And just to clarify something about Nancy Monroe and how she gives grades. She is not totally biased toward female students. Gender matters not. It all has to do with how much a student sucks up to her, or whether or not she liked that student’s older sibling. Her students either learn to kiss a** or perish. They are stuck memorizing vocabulary words and quotes. What good is that? That sounds like what my English teacher did back in the 60’s.

  72. BHS parents, students, and alumni should be seen and heard at every possible venue until true change occurs. With Sams off the Board, those who have lived under his tunic will no whave to fend for themselves. If we speak louldly and in unison there will be nothing to silence us!

    Or Higgins could make it easy for all of us and just resign!!

  73. A little over a year after Penny Tony took over as principal, Bolton saw an exodus of over half it’s student population, as well as about 35% of its faculty. Almost none of those teachers were reassigned arbitrarily, by the way. They requested to be transferred. Many of those teachers were respected faculty pillars who were as much a part of Bolton High School as the furniture.

    Don’t fall into the mold of thinking that the “area” is the reason for Bolton’s decline. In recent years, Hill and Vance have improved dramatically. Tony ran that school into the ground, and they are stll paying for it. thank god she is gone.

  74. To ye who copy and paste:

    Obviously you did not receive your formal English composition training at BHS. If so you would have known to site your source.

    Some of you are so nearsighted. The point here is as much asbout Bolton as it is about Sams. The man who has single-handedly, with the help of a few devoted followers, destroyed what took decades to build now wants to be our Mayor. If Bolton as we knwo it dies, its death may not be in vain if the stories told here keep that man from ever holding elected office ever again.

  75. Students,

    You may not be able to have Ms. Toney back, but you may be able to help Mr. Higgins on down the road.

    Use the power of the internet and today’s technologies which you all know much better than us. Rally the support of your fellow students and, most importantly, your parents.

    Bolton can be saved but it will take hard work. You can do.

    Oh, and few good clean examples of civil disobedience could help Higgins either.

  76. The school board doesn’t care what we students think. Only what the people with money think. We’re just trash to them. You want proof? The fact that Mr. Higgins was ever hired to replace Mrs. Toney is all the proof I need.

    And after all this talk about Mrs. Johnson, I’m even more confused. She is so mean and hateful that no one wants to use the library anymore. Mrs. Lee was so nice and welcoming. Mrs. Johnson seems like she hates everyone. Aren’t teachers supposed to like kids?

  77. Lamar – Aren’t you friends with Matt Lee?? Ask him how Mr. Higgins treated his mother soon after her arrival st Bolton. That should be all the information you need about the new principal.

  78. I was told today about the Bolton topic on this blog. I was further told about the vitriolic and acrimonious comments being so lightly bandied about. I was ashamed that so-called educated adults would so publically show their ill-breeding and spite.
    The school board has always been a political machine–I imagine it will continue to be. If someone is upset at how it functions, then each malcontent can run for school board office or convince another respectable citizen to do so. If there is as much discontent as some of these blog contributors assume, they ought to be able to change the system. The old adage that if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem still holds true.
    I, like some of the other respondents, am familiar with Bolton. I was cognizant of Akin’s, Toney’s, and now Higgin’s tenor as principal. Each one is different; each one his or her own style. And each one of them worked hard.
    One of the things that bothers me the most about these postings is that Mr. Higgins is being blamed for taking the job that was offered him. He did not fire, tranfer, or in any was degrade the reputation of former principals. The comments made about him are shameful. He promoted Bolton’s achedemic program and has constantly complimented the teachers for their dedication. At the end of his first year, Bolton continued to excell achedemically.
    I’m ashamed to be associated with people who are making these vicious attacks. It is evident that it is teachers who are writing and that they think that all of this trash talk is supportive and beneficial to Penny Toney’s reputation. Why? I imagine it is hurtful. Leave it alone and let her, Mr. Higgins, the school, the faculty, and the students continue to build their futures. Grow up!

  79. Please explain why Mr. Higgins has demoted qualified faculty members who are directly resposnsible for Bolton’s academic success.

    You, sir or madame. are mssing the twofold point:
    1) Bolton is in the state that it is because John Sams, a man who asks for our trust in him for the highest elected local office, made it his personal mission to destroy an institution which he thinks snubbed him.

    2) Yes, the Board is a political machine, but never has any Board action been so detremintal to so many. Through this whole process the faculty, except for the Monroe clique, has been left demoralized and humiliated. What was a passion to them is now just a job.

    That is the cold hard truth. Facts are facts. If you don’t like what was said here then do not long on any more. These are not idle rants but the testimonial of many a person who has lived the nightmare.

  80. To Anon at 8:13:

    For someone so self-righteous and arrogant, you sure don’t know how to spell worth a damn. (publically, achedemic, excell). But your MS Word thesaurus is working very well! Kudos!

    You also don’t know your facts.

    No, Mr. Higgins did not fire or transfer Ms. Toney. But he did transfer Kelly Self, at the behest and intimidation of both John Sams and Nancy Monroe. He also allowed Charlene Johnson to harass Cory Barnette so much it caused him to seek employment elsewhere.

    The tension at Bolton these days is palpable.

    If someone offered me the job of President of the United States, I wouldn’t take it because I’M NOT QUALIFIED. I propose that Mr. Higgins should have done the same. Since he didn’t, he must take responsibility for his own lack of leadership, academic prowess, and overall class.

    Make no mistake, the comments above have not been “lightly bandied about” as you so ignorantly suggest. It may seem cruel and unwarranted to you, but I assure you, the venom spewed at John Sams, Charlene Johnson, Bill Higgins, and Nancy Monroe is quite deserved. Maybe it seems unfair because the Bolton debauchery is news to you, but that is because the aforementioned people have been spreading lies, propaganda, and half truths for so long that this community has no idea how bad things are. Do you think everyone on this blog is a liar?

    When someone is hired, isn’t their work experience considered? The numbers given above about school performance scores, ACT scores, and Mr. Higgins’ certifications are FACT. Go to the Louisiana Department of Education and yourself and verify them, if you like. So, either the people in charge of placing Mr. Higgins at Bolton are stupid, delusional, or he is a political pawn.

    Facts are facts, and just because you don’t like the truth doesn’t mean it’s false.

  81. How in the world has Higgins complemented his faculty? His gaol when he came in was to divide the faculty that some has said was “too close”. I understand why. The faculty had a strong bond. A good working relationship. This makes it hard if you are an outsider.

    So, he is letting a select few run the school, while he sits on his fat ass and does nothing. must be nice. How many faculty meetings did he have last year? how many LaSig meetings did he attend? Isn’t the purpose of those meeting to help the school and improve test scores?

    The way I hear it, Mr. Higgins doesn’t have faculty meeting because he :
    1. doesn’t care what the faculty think
    2. does not like confrontations
    3. has more important things to do
    4. has no idea what the rules are for students and faculty in this parish, so he looks foolish when asked about anything

    the school is being run by those few teachers who feel they are ALWAYS right and their opinion should never be questioned. Ask students who have been in their class, or asked teachers who have been yelled at and criticized like a small child by other teachers on his faculty.

    The teachers at Bolton sit back and let Nancy run everything because it is easier. If you try to help you are yelled at, beacause you didn’t do it her way. Better to let her run the school.

    So, it is better with Mr. Higgins?? It is easy to forget he is even there. There is no leadership at Bolton.

    To fix this, the school board needs to bring in a real principal.

    from what i hear, Higgins thinks he will be the next superientendent for the parish.

  82. I must tell you the Higgins plan for student success.

    If you dress nice and have nice things, the students will respect you and do well in school.

    That is the explanation for the Rolex watch he is so proud of, and the mink coat that he wears. He wants the students to be successful.

    Not quality teaching, BLING is the path to success. I am going to get me a gold tooth and teach at Bolton.

  83. I know nothing about anything, but don’t hold that against me in my following commentary. It just interests me that 5-10 people on cenlamar seem to know first hand, in and out that John Sams is in league with Satan to 1) overthrow Bolton 2) alexandria and 3) the world?… Now the gist of my commentary is not that, the point is regarding the school board. it seems counterintuitive that a majority of voters in district “I” would repeatedly elect Sams if a fraction of the conspiracy theory on here were accurate (and by accurate I mean more than the disgruntled person involved, the friend they’ve told their story to, and those that feel their political views are diametically opposed to Sams’ believe what is being said). or perhaps that many people in alexadria truly are incapaple of recognizing the truth. but history seems to bear out that if only a handful of people follow a certain position, that position is counterintuitive to reality. but that’s just my two cents.

  84. To the 10:36 post:
    1) Sams had not contest because he had the police jury redraw district lines to remove Wayne Denley and in his second term, no one wanted to touch his venomous nature so they did not dare run.
    (2) You have spoken the exact truth of which so many here speak: we all know that “this too shall pass” as reality will not bear its existence for much longer.

  85. Yeah, but the “no contest” bit makes no sense. carry through the idea of sams being a vast evil and 1) you have a public acknowledgement of this plight and 2) you have an opposition movement (of more than 5-10 people posting on a blog). No contest implies that there simply was no opposition at all, whether they be running or not.

  86. That focus on athletics Mr. Higgins and Dr. Sams have championed is paying off. The football team scored tonight!
    Go Bears!!!!

  87. The crisis at Bolton is definitely for real. Higgins is slowly but surely running this school into the ground. Teachers are afraid for their jobs while they watch joke teachers such as Janell Coffman, Higgins’ new squeeze and the hands-down worst excuse for a teacher ever, stroll into school after 8:30 AM every day (school begins at 7:30 AM), leave her class unattended while she goes to smoke or whatever, and completely personify unprofessionalism at its worst. This is just one example of a teacher everyone knows to avoid because she is worse than terrible now actually running the science department and teaching all of the upper level classes. How have students and parents responded? It’s fight or flight, and they are definitely fleeing, even if it means taking a regular course rather than an honors just to avoid the Coffman trainwreck. Cough-man’s classes now number less than ten students each–go figure! Yet she is put on a pedestal by Higgins and is given free reign to do as she damn well pleases with no consequences whatsoever. Bolton has had its problems under all previous administrations, but it is now the worst it has ever been and both faculty and student morale are at all-time lows. Check out Nancy Monroe’s student enrollment–why does she only have 1 student in one class? How is that fair to other teachers struggling to manage over 30 students? Parents need to unite and make their voices heard to save this community treasure that is Bolton High School. Refuse to continue suffering silently while the lunatics run the asylum!

  88. I thought Rita mathews was Higgins new “friend” She has two planning periods. She doesn’t teach 1st hour or last hour. Plus she seems to be wearing all new clothes. Higgins must be her sugar daddy.

  89. “I know nothing about anything, but don’t hold that against me in my following commentary. It just interests me that 5-10 people on cenlamar seem to know first hand, in and out that John Sams is in league with Satan to 1) overthrow Bolton 2) alexandria and 3) the world?…”

    In retort I offer the follwoing questions based in fact. I challenge you to provide plausible reasons why these things would occur except for political gain or to satisfy so sick, twisted since of retibution:

    1) Why was the principal of Bolton replaced when the school had a rep for academic excellence and the highest ACT average in the parish?

    2) Why were good, qualified teachers with spotless records either transferred or demoted and replaced with the friends of the Sams’ clique?

    3) Why are every faculty committee, team, etc. now filled with Monroe and Sams’ hand-picke appointees and at the same time devoid of anyone who even knows Ms. Toney’s name?

    Would the reaction here be so venomous if Sams were not running for Mayor? I doubt it.

    What you actually measure here is the true depth of the passion and love the faculty and staff have for Bolton. They should be commended for refusing to stand idlely by while Bolton is slowly and painfully destroyed.

  90. Far from being demoralizing to faculty and students alike, the situation at Bolton is also detrimental to everyone’s safety. Those in Higgins’ favor never have to do things that they are supposed to do such as stand their duty posts, so children are running amok in and out of the building before and after school. I’m not sure exactly which floozy teacher is Higgins’ new “friend” but Coffman has NEVER stood her duty post and Higgins knows this but does nothing (as usual). He knows this because she makes it a point to strut into his office each morning to chat and flirt with the troll before she goes upstairs, every day after 8:30 AM! How can the other parish high schools be so overcrowded with unmanageable class sizes while so many of Higgins’ buddies have multiple planning periods and tiny classes? Why can’t Bolton’s excess faculty members be transferred to other schools to relieve overcrowding there? Hasn’t this been done in the past when enrollment fell? Has anyone bothered to verify if Higgins is submitting an accurate student count? If all of these teachers have more than one planning period and tiny classes, the 600-or-so enrollment figure is probably inflated. The “dead weight” should be eliminated so the hardworking, dedicated, professional faculty members who actually want to do their jobs can help do what is necessary to make this school flourish once again.

  91. It is a shame that this type of exchange is being allowed to happen. When “anonymous” sources are allowed to offer erroneous information, to accuse specific individuals of wrong-doing, and to vent without boundaries, it is a disservice to the school and to the community.

    It sounds like these comments are being posted by someone employed at the school, and it seems that person is extremely hostile toward everyone in the building. However, if you are employed at the school, I really don’t understand how you have to time and the energy to be minding everyone else’s business.

    Using this medium to accuse specific teachers of inappropriate behavior is an abuse of the forum and should not be allowed. You obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

    Nancy Monroe is designated as a gifted English teacher, and according to some state rule, those teachers are allowed to only have gifted students on their rosters. All gifted classes are small – from the elementary level up through high school. Child specific instruction is the method used for gifted classes – so the classes are smaller and the children are working within their own boundaries.

    As for Mrs. Coffman coming in at a later time – she has first period as her planning period. How would anyone know when she comes in, and what difference could it possibly make to that person? She is at school most days until 6 or 6:30 PM – I fail to see that point mentioned here. And how do you know if she is doing her duty? Are you the person who is walking around checking duty posts every morning?

    And Ms. Mathews certainly does not have 2 planning periods. She has an English I honors class at 5th hour. There was a schedule printed by the guidance office that had her off at 5th, but it was wrong. Maybe you should go by her classroom at 5th hour and see all of the children in there if you need proof. As for her new clothing – how petty are you? Of course she has new clothes – she was National Board Certified last year, and that gives her a much needed raise so she can finally afford to buy something to wear to school.

    There is no “real” teacher at that school who is afraid for their job. If they are doing their job, they are not in danger of losing it.

    Some other points you have brought up that need to be addressed:
    1. There are faculty meetings at Bolton.
    2. Mr. Higgins does encourage his teachers to dress professionlly. How is that a bad thing?
    3. Mr. Higgins was a coach. He is now a principal who sees the value of a good athletic department. There are principals at other schools who were coaches. Does he put sports first – no, certainly not. Does he consider sports a vital part of a high school program – of course, as do all of the other principals in this parish.
    4. Ms. Monroe does not try to run the school. She has been there the longest, so knows the way things are supposed to happen. Bolton is a school rich in traditions, and it is important for those traditions to endure. She works very hard to endure that happens. That is a good thing, by the way.
    5. Faculty committees and teams at Bolton are filled by people who wish to serve on them. People are not “appointed” to serve, so if someone is not on a committee, it is probably because they said no, or never expressed an interest in it.
    6. Yes, Bolton scored at the game! The boys are learning to play well, and that is the whole point of hiring coaches who know what they are doing. A well rounded athletic program is essential to the success of a public high school. How can anyone who loves this school criticize the effort to improve its’ athletic program?

    If Lamar White, Jr. is going to continue to allow this thread of blogging to continue, he needs to start requiring people to usse their names to post.

  92. For the 9:29 post who said, “If Lamar White, Jr. is going to continue to allow this thread of blogging to continue, he needs to start requiring people to usse their names to post.”

    Then why don’t you use YOUR name?

  93. I graduated from Bolton in 2005. I don’t know Mr. Higgins but he sounds awful. Going into my sophomore year of college, I give credit for my 4.0 to hardworking, dedicated, caring, inspiring teachers such as Stephanie Marcotte, Cathy Martinez, Corey Barnette, Kelly Self, and Jonathan Stokes. Others in my college classes struggle with material we cover, but I feel like the great education I received in their classes gave me a firm background to easily make the transition to the rigors of college. It is a shame if this blog is true and these true professionals have either been transferred or are being pushed out the door. If all this is true, and I know much of what I have read happened while I was there, I am sad for the students who are still there.

  94. In response to 8:25’s ‘facts’:
    1) Bolton’s ACT has long been higher than the surrounding schools, this is neither praise nor insult to Toney, it is neutral. It took a leap during the middle of Toney’s tenure because 400+ students left, and not coincidentally scores increased – giving you an idea of who left.
    2) I’ve heard conflicting accounts on this thread about teachers who left. Some say those who left requested transfer out and others say they were forced out. Like I said earlier, I don’t know the details. But unless you’re one of those teachers and would like to come forward with names and sworn statements from yourself and your colleagues, the “pushed out” theory is at the same time equally probably and equally improbable as the voluntary trasfer.
    3) Toss out some names of Sams’ and Monroe’s hand-picked shall we say cronies. i’m sure it’s not impossible to check their background records and see whether they are qualified for their positions. Now if you just have a personal or political problems with the placement of individuals in the school system, that’s another matter. But if they have the quals, giving them a job isn’t a sign of a power trip or some demented plot. it’s a sign that those in leadership positions (ie the entirety of the school board) decided that the new individual would have a shot a bettering the record of the old individual. now if you think there was no problem before that needed bettering (for example under the toney administration) this statement still holds true. just because you do not agree with the justifications for rotating faculty does not make the dealings underhanded.

  95. One quick note to the 9:29AM post: I write under my real name, but I will never require other bloggers to do the same. Obviously, you didn’t feel comfortable signing your real name, yet you’re asking me to make it imperative for everyone else (and you’re obviously pro-administration… so I’m not sure what type of retribution you could exact on teachers who are using this forum to express opinions they otherwise could not). Actually, that’s the funny thing about your post: You praise the administration ANONYMOUSLY, and then you demand that I require those who write critically to use their real name.

    An open and honest discussion on the issues affecting one of Alexandria’s finest high schools is obviously needed in this community.

  96. “Nancy Monroe is designated as a gifted English teacher, and according to some state rule, those teachers are allowed to only have gifted students on their rosters.” Yes, but she is teaching Branch’s AP classes IN HER ROOM at the same time as her gifted classes. That means they are following the same curriculum. That is not right. Gifted English classes should be an enrichment of the state required English curriculum. AP classes are actual college courses that students receive college credit on. AP classes cannot be deemed “gifted” according to the College Board.

    “As for Mrs. Coffman coming in at a later time – she has first period as her planning period. She is at school most days until 6 or 6:30 PM” Yes, and so are many teachers. There are many extra-curricular activities at Bolton besides cheerleading. Here is a quote from one of Bolton’s cheerleaders: “Ms. Coffman said that cheerleading should be more important to us than our academic stuff because we should be committed to cheerleading.”

    “There are faculty meetings at Bolton.” Only this year. There were MAYBE two last year.

    “Faculty committees and teams at Bolton are filled by people who wish to serve on them. People are not “appointed” to serve, so if someone is not on a committee, it is probably because they said no, or never expressed an interest in it.” This was the case when Ms. Toney was principal. Mr. Higgins DOES appoint people to certain committees. No one has asked the entire faculty to be a part of ANYTHING.

    And Rita Mathews is a fantastic teacher. She is hard working, energetic, and is ADORED by students and faculty alike. Whomever is throwing stones at her has got their information completely wrong.

  97. Higgins should have been removed last year, but then Jones would have had to admit he’d made a mistake. God forbid that the “general” would make a mistake!

    But you know what the really sad thing is? If and when Higgins gets the boot from Bolton, he will escape unscathed. I would bet my next paycheck that he’ll be given a cushy job at the central office. Mark my words, kids. It will happen.

  98. Can’t some sort of neutral committee be formed to investigate these allegations? As a taxpayer I am horrified but I don’t know where to start. Any suggestions?

  99. “As for Mrs. Coffman coming in at a later time – she has first period as her planning period. How would anyone know when she comes in, and what difference could it possibly make to that person? She is at school most days until 6 or 6:30 PM – I fail to see that point mentioned here. And how do you know if she is doing her duty? Are you the person who is walking around checking duty posts every morning?”

    She only stays late because she is PAID to be the cheerleader sponsor and they have practice after school. Even if she does stay late, as do many other teachers, she is still required to clock in by 7:10 AM, or have new rules been invented for only certain people? A teacher’s planning period is merely part of his or her paid time to prepare for classes at school. Teachers are salaried employees, not paid any overtime if they choose to come in early or stay late. However, all are supposed to be there (clocked in) from 7:10 to 3:50 each day at the minimum. How is anyone with a 1st Period planning period magically exempt from these rules. If someone arrives after 8:30 AM every day, it does not take a genius to figure out that that person cannot be on his or her morning duty post from 7:00 to 7:30–simple arithmetic lets you see that.

  100. A neutral committee? In Rapides Parish? Surely you jest! The dirty politics in this parish, city, and school district is what got us here in the first place.

  101. From the faculty handbook on the school website at

    “Faculty Operational Policies & Procedures

    Faculty Attendance
    1. Teachers must clock in by 7:10 a.m. and clock out after 2:45 p.m.
    2. Teachers will use the school board site to clock-in and clock-out each day.
    3. Teachers should avoid leaving the campus during the school day to conduct personal business. If a staff member has an emergency and must leave the campus during the school day, he/she must obtain verbal permission from the principal and clock out. Clock outs will be monitored by the school and central office.
    4. If a teacher is leaving campus for school business, he/she must obtain verbal permission from the principal and sign out with Mrs. McGlory in the Main Office.”

    This handbook has a wealth of information such as faculty responsibilities, etc. Maybe if an investigation is begun, these responsibilities can be checked to see who is and who is not meeting theirs.

  102. In case you do not know most of the vicious postings are fron Kelly Self or other Penny Toney toadies. Kelly is Penny’s “special friend” and is a bitter vindictive woman. The out right lies that have been posted are outrageous. People who live in glass houses schould not throw stones or the house will come down around them. Too many people know the truth about about what happened at Bolton over the last few years and they are about feed up with the lies and half truths that you are telling.

  103. Also from the faculty handbook:

    “2006-07 Duty Responsibilities
    updated 8/15/06
    * Do not be negligent with your duties. *

    Supervision of students is a legal responsibility. Be on time, be visible, be proactive in dealing with potential problems. Do not let your duty post go unattended. Your presence is critical.

    General Duty- Before School

    Teachers are to be in the assigned duty area by 6:50 a.m. and supervise until 7:25 a.m.”

    I don’t think this could be more clear. How does this not apply to all faculty?

  104. Also from the faculty handbook on the web:

    “Faculty Operational Policies & Procedures

    Supervision of Students

    1. Students are never to be left unsupervised.”

    How does leaving your classroom for a smoke break fit into this rule?

  105. “Too many people know the truth about about what happened at Bolton over the last few years and they are about feed up with the lies and half truths that you are telling.”

    Then why don’t you explain why students continue to leave this once great school in droves. Why don’t you explain the poor faculty and student morale. Why don’t you explain how and why the ineffective, inept, and incompetents are being promoted to positions of responsibility in the school. There is plenty of truth to what is being posted. Thank goodness for the anonymous posting capability. AT last there is a safe forum for parents, teachers, students, and community to share their concerns.

  106. Anon 11:31…then tell “the truth.” Don’t just say you know it. TELL IT. That’s the problem with all of you that disagree with what’s been put on this blog. You have no facts to back up your allegations. Go ahead, we’re all listening. You don’t like what’s on here because you know it’s true. And since you can’t disprove it with facts, you make slanderous and untrue accusations about two of the best educators in this parish. How very mature.

    Incidentally, the few (and not very well spoken) malcontents are all Sams’ toadies, either directly or by default.

  107. Lamar,
    I do not see how allowing people to post salanderous material is acceptable to you or anyone else. It is obvious that people are just making personal attacks and trying to settle old scores. If you are so concerned about Bolton why don’t you go see for yourself and report what you actually see. Something that cannot be distorted. You sure won’t get it from the vast majority of the postings here. All you are getting is Penny Toney vs. John Sams. No one who has posted or has been talked about has anything to do with that issue. It is just line up, take sides, and blast each other. It doesn’t matter if it is the truth they just want to make people look bad and settle old scores and the sad thing is that people who don’t know the truth will believe the garbage. I do not see how this is fair to anyone.

    You need to make a decision. Is this what you want on your blog? An avenue for hate,lies and slander. I hope not.

  108. I am currently a senior at Bolton High School and I find these postings to be very disturbing. The teachers and administrators here are all very caring and are constantly pushing us to excell. Why anyone would talk about my teachers the way they are is beyond belief. To imply that the quality of education at Bolton has dropped is unbelieveable. I sincerely hope those of you that read this blog will not belive the lies that are being told about my teachers and school.

  109. The material on this blog may be offensive to some people. It is quite unfortunate that the truth about Sams, Jones, Johnson, Monroe and Higgins is so vile and repulsive. But no matter how unpleasant it may be, it is quite accurate.

    The current manner in which the Rapides Parish school district is run gives no voice to teachers, students, and parents. Those are the people on the front lines. Those are the people who know what’s going on. But our schools are being run by people who have never been educators. Most that are educators haven’t been in the classroom in eons.

    There are as many back door deals and vindictive witch hunts going on within our school system as there are in big business and big government. And as usual, the little people (students, teachers, and parents) have no way of voicing their concern to an open minded group which would lead to the rectification of the corruption. So, here we are.

    I personally know of students, parents and teachers that have gone to Mr. Jones about this very subject, only to be dismissed with his assurance that he knows what he’s doing. He hasn’t a clue.

  110. This is my first post and I definitely am a Bolton student. All of the bad stuff is true–Monroe discriminates against boys in her class and everyone knows to avoid taking her class at all costs. Coffman is a joke and when she was given honors classes this year, everyone found a way to get their schedules changed. Johnson is mean and vindictive and no one wants to use the library anymore. Higgins is the biggest joke of all and I still remember how the newspaper described him as a mushy marshmallow or something like that when he first got here. He is very egotistical and only likes Coffman so much because she is the only one who is low enough to give his ugly fat ass any attention. What needs to stop is the bad stuff about Mrs. Matthews who is a great teacher, right up there with Marcotte, Martinez, Self and the others who have been named. Some students really feel that she is by far the BEST teacher there. I’m going to tell more students to post here so you can hear what’s really going on at our school. It needs to be said and heard so hopefully someone can finally do something and try to make things better.

  111. has so much changed since my time there? i recall johnson and monroe as by far the two best teachers at bolton. to be fair, if you were a jackass they called you out on it, unlike other more passive and permissive teachers. but they were straight forward in their policies and unrivaled in their academics.

  112. Johnson was a pretty good teacher. She doesn’t teach anymore. I’m not really sure what she does.

    Monroe has gone off the deep end. She’s lost it.

  113. johnson is not teaching anything. she is the librarian so she has time to spy for Dr. Sams.

    Monroe only had 11 students total when school started because none of the juniors and seniors wanted her class. even the gifted students avoided her by signing up for REGULAR english or concurrent enrollment at LC.

    The only way to be successful with Nancy is to be great at memorizing quotes and vocabulary. Not everyone can do that.
    Her goal is to fail the students. Every other teacher in the parish gives the final from the parish. that ios not enough for her. she makes up an impossible test with 5 parts that students work on for a week. she somehow does not have to follow parish policy. why haven’t the parents revolted against her???

  114. Would it not be a very simple thing to look at each teachers class rolls. Those with too few students and/or more than one planning period should be given students from the overcrowded classes. It sounds as if the guidance office did a very poor job of scheduling, allowing some teachers to benefit from ridiculously small classes while others suffer with overcrowded students. Where is the administrative oversight? Why wasn’t the master schedule adjusted when these inequities were so obvious?

  115. My personal rating of current Bolton teachers for what its worth.

    GREAT (leave them alone)-Barnhart, Bryant, Campbell, Charlene Johnson (sorry but I like her), Fetters, Fortenberry, Gordon, Gourges, Holsomback, Kent, Lacaze, Lee, Marcotte, Martinez, Mathews, Melissa Monroe, Melton, Randall, Rudisill, Sanders, Stalcup, Stokes, Ware, Weatherspoon, Wesley, White

    TERRIBLE (please get rid of them)-Allgood, Branch, Coffman, Nancy Monroe

    ONES I DON’T KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT TO RANK-Ajlani, Bertrand, Cutshall, Ellington, Eloi, Franklin, Huff, Jeremy Johnson, Lackey, Owens, Paul, Powell, Quijas, Randell, Rhodes, Robinson, Sims, Slatten, Slatten, Soileau, Washington

    Guidance Department sucks and provides very little “guidance” to anyone. Parmley and Willliams seem OK but are too overworked trying to do Higgins job. Higgins is a buffoon and needs to go, plain and simple.

  116. How could guidance do a good job? Higgins didn’t give them a clue about the master schedule unitl August. He was trying to find someone to take some classes, but kept other teachers thinking they were teaching them until school started.

    For example, Jonathan Stokes was led to believe that he would be teaching the AP classes but Mr. Higgins hired another teacher at the last minute and gave her those classes, he did not bother to tell Mr. Stokes.

    He planned on hiring Mrs. Byrant since last year, but can’t hire her until the last minute since she is retired. He led Mrs. Marcotte to believe that she was teaching AP Calculus just in case Mrs. byrant fell through. She also found out about her classes the day teachers reported to work.

    No wonder so many people are trying to leave. Those of you that are past students, look at the previous post, do you recognize many names??

    Most special Ed teachers have left, and been replaced by coaches. long time special ed teachers like Elaine Williams, Judy Williams, Mary Young, judy Rozier, to name a few.

    This year there are 2 new math teachers, 2 new science teachers, 3 new english teachers, 2 new social studies teachers, a new rotc teacher, a new business teacher and numerous coaches and special ed teachers. That is alot of turnover for a principal’s first year.

  117. Where is John Sams when Bolton really needs him?

    He was absent when the school board had the meeting to promote all the 8th graders that failed the LEAP test. even thje ones who didn’t even bother going to summer school.

    Is John Sams done with his responsibilities? Was getting rid of Penny Toney his only goal, or does he really have a heart for education??

  118. Wow. 26 “GREAT” teachers, only 4 “TERRIBLE”, and 21 undecided. There has been lots of turnover, but if there are only 4 bad ones, then they definitely need to go so the others can go about the business of educating children.

  119. Well, you have to count Higgins as another “bad” one. He counts at least as much as 10 crappy teachers would. Plus, Nancy Monroe is the sponsor of a huge portion of clubs. She is solely or partially in charge of 1) assemblies, 2) spring play, 3) talent show, 4) literary rally, 5) quiz bowl, 6) National Honor Society, 7) stage crew, 8) ACLU, 9) lip sync, and 10) undergrad awards. If I could put a pie chart on here to show the balance of power, I would.

  120. Nancy Monroe gets on board with whomever is in charge. She gets in the boat and paddles as fast as she can. Unfortunatly she never leaves the dock. For years she has tried to be in control of every event at Bolton. It appears she did not get enough attention as a child. Somebody please go give her a hug. Maybe she will fizzle away like the wicked witch of the west.

  121. she is also in charge of undergrad awards, talent show, the english department, anything that happens in the auditorium somehow falls under her control. If she is not in control of the activity, she will still try her best to take over. Tracey Campbell started the Lip sync contest, but nancy bitched until she was able to get part of the money for her groups. publications had blue jean passes as a fund raiser, but again nancy insisted on taking that for her group. senior class had student reserved parking as a fund raiser, nancy took that for her groups. amazing.

    She arrives at school first in the morning, BEFORE the principal or janitor. she truly feels that any dedicated teacher would do the same. God forbid as a teacher, you have a life outside of school, that will get you on her hit list for sure. She is a bitter old woman with NO LIFE outside of Bolton high school.

    She also expects her students to arrive this early. that is another way to pass her class, come at 6:30 am for tutoring.

  122. I don’t think the student count is anywhere near 600. I would bet that Higgins is having Parmley inflate the count to keep teachers. (he is having parmley fill out the forms so parmley will get the blame if they get caught)

  123. Where is Nancy Monroe from originally? she hasn’t been at Bolton her whole life? I don’t think she has any family. Why is she here???

    Couldn’t they get her one of those school board jobs and keep her away from children??

  124. A friend called me tonight and told me that my name was on this blog. After finding it, I was extremely hurt.
    I work very hard to provide the best education I can so that my students can become successful adults.
    Whenever I have a problem with a student, I talk to him or her in private. It is not the class’s business what is said. We solve the problem between the two of us.
    I would like the same courtesy. If I am doing something I shouldn’t–or not doing something I should do–come talk to ME.
    I take pride in what I do. This public lynch mob mentality is destructive.
    And no, I am not going to leave my name.

  125. If things are so bad at Bolton, why are there any students there at all? Why haven’t all the teachers left??

    If you, teachers commenting on thsi blog, want to help, you would stop all this petty crap. What parent of any eighth grader would consider sending their precious child to you??

    Pineville and ASH seem like great choices. I would line up that transfer fast, your school will be closed by next year. GREAT JOB.

  126. ” Lamar,
    I do not see how allowing people to post salanderous material is acceptable to you or anyone else. It is obvious that people are just making personal attacks and trying to settle old scores. If you are so concerned about Bolton why don’t you go see for yourself and report what you actually see. Something that cannot be distorted. You sure won’t get it from the vast majority of the postings here. All you are getting is Penny Toney vs. John Sams. No one who has posted or has been talked about has anything to do with that issue. It is just line up, take sides, and blast each other. It doesn’t matter if it is the truth they just want to make people look bad and settle old scores and the sad thing is that people who don’t know the truth will believe the garbage. I do not see how this is fair to anyone.

    You need to make a decision. Is this what you want on your blog? An avenue for hate,lies and slander. I hope not.”

    Dear Anonymous Writer,

    First of all, thank you for your contribution. I am of the opinion that the truth ultimately comes forward in conversations such as these.

    Students, teachers, and parents have all contributed to this discussion, and they are all entitled to their opinions, as are you. I cannot take responsibility for the words and opinions of anyone other than myself. I can only offer a venue for people to share their opinions. I do not personally know most of the people discussed on this, because I attended ASH. My interest in this subject is that of a concerned Alexandrian who noticed the significant drop in enrollment. For the purposes of full disclosure, I have met Ms. Toney, and I am a former student of Charlene Johnson, who I consider to be one of the best teachers in Central Louisiana (and who was regretfully dismissed from ACDS when I entered 8th grade).

    I will not moderate this discussion. I will allow parents, teachers, students, and concerned citizens the opportunity to express their opinions, free of any threat of retribution (because I believe this is our democratic right). If there is anything “slanderous” or “libelous,” please e-mail me personally with factual details, and I will take the steps necessary to correct any misconceptions.

    I regret that you don’t like what’s being said, anonymous, but from the looks of it, you’re in the minority. It seems like many people in our community are disturbed and upset with the state of Bolton High School. Instead of threatening me and disparaging the intent of my blog, why don’t you consider ways to solve this problem?

  127. I can’t believe what Bolton has turned into. This year, I watched great educators exist that building without looking back. Cory Barnette, Kelly Self and Dr. Keitha Manning; Bolton will never be the same again. Everyone blames Penny Toney for Bolton’s problems but in fact they rest with Dr. John Sams and the superintendent. Everyone can speculate what went on but as a former student I lived dealt with the issues first hand everyday. From my junior year to my senior year was a complete transformation. We lost all since of direction and tradition.
    During the last two months of the 2004-2005 school year Bolton had no functioning leadership while Ms. Toney fought for her job. The problem is that the job of a principal has become to politicized.

  128. “If things are so bad at Bolton, why are there any students there at all? Why haven’t all the teachers left??”

    There are several good teachers left at Bolton. Those good teachers that are still there are staying for the students they love. They are hoping that the absurd nightmare that has gone on since the beginning the fall of 2005 will end and they can get on with doing the job they were meant to do. Many of them were at Bolton well before Mr. Higgins was principal, so they know what a wonderful school Bolton can be. They don’t want to abandon ship and let the school be completely ruined. They have pride in Bolton.

    Does that answer your question?

  129. Lamar,

    First let me thank you for this thread. It by far has been more active than even any mayoral race thread.

    By the shear level of activity it is obvious there are serious problems at Bolton, problems that threaten its very future.

    Even though I have lived all of the events and examples cited herein, I must on occassion agree that the commentary has been acidic and acrimonious but never slanderous. The truth is a painful thing.

    Why has the commentary been so vicious? Because for the most part BHS has a staff of dedicated and loyal teachers, parents, and alumni who know what it was and what it can be. Second, and most importantly, speaking out in the current avaialble avenues, i.e. Higgins or Sams, would be career suicide.

    Again speaking from experience and not just reading this blog: How can we fix it? Everyone traces the root cause to Sams and I must agree with that. The man used to spend as much time at Bolton harassing Toney as he did on hospital rounds. His tenure on the School Board is about to end. Those who have been his benfactor will then need to fend for themselves as his sphere of influence will be null.

    The real problem at Bolton is poor leadership. A good leader would not have allowed a minority (in size not race) group of politically connected teachers to essentially sieze control of the fine instituition. People like those mentioned negatively here thrive in leadership vacuums and that is what we have at Bolton.

    Replace Higgins, with a good, strong, respected leader with a proven track record. Not a leader who comes from an underperforming school. Under new leadership every member of the faculty will need to understand his or her role, if they don’t like it you will be free to make one last grand exit from the halls of Bolton right through the arches at the main entrance and on to Vance Ave.

    Students and parents you have the best chance to be heard right now, support the best candidiate to repalace Sams. Make your story heard in a concise professional manner always remmebering to attack problems not people. Yes, there are those who will try to stifle this process through intimidation and other malicious tactics but if you stand together with the realization that their power bases will crumble in December you can do it.

    The word is out and the story is too large to ignore. Keep it up!!!

  130. As I commented to a friend of mine, this blog has kind of turned into something akin to a car accident—horrible, yet you can’t seem to make yourself look away.

    Yes, I am a Bolton teacher, currently in my 5th year at the school. Since I have only lived in Alexandria for 6 years, I am not completely in touch with all of the local politics and don’t really care to hear about it, either.

    Alexandria itself has been a rather difficult community to move to. I have found many of the residents to be rather provincial in their attitudes and felt as if I had to “prove myself” over and over again. That said, it’s really not any different than the small town in Texas where I grew up, so it didn’t really bother me because I know how people in small towns are. Now my children consider this home and I have met and made some of my best friends here, so I am glad to have moved here.

    I agree with Anonymous 10:22 that we are not helping our school by publishing all of this negative information on this blog. For all we know, due to the anonymous posting feature, a single person or a handful of people could be posting EVERYTHING just to “stir the pot” a little, sit back, and watch how crazily everyone reacts.

    Do I think everything is perfect at Bolton? Certainly not, but that’s been the case with every job I have ever had. Do I think Mr. Higgins is perfect and infallible? Certainly not, but I didn’t think Ms. Toney was perfect, either. I am still at Bolton because I simply love my job and I love working with my students, plain and simple. I chose to pursue my master’s in curriculum and instruction rather than administration because I love to teach and I don’t want the headaches of an administrative position. Those in charge can never please everyone and have to deal with the repercussions and public scrutiny of every decision they make. I think they call that either being the “goat” or the “hero” in sports, but those of you who know me know that sports is definitely not my forte, so I may be wrong there.

    I do not think that I have been “demoted” as was previously written. Honestly, I have had a different schedule every year that I have taught. That happens due to the difficulty of making a master schedule. We as teachers can’t be territorial and petty, but must adjust and just roll with the flow sometimes. Certainly, if those decisions were made last year and I was not informed until the beginning of the school year, that is wrong. But I don’t know that assertion to be completely true, so I’m not going to dwell on it. I’m just going to keep teaching the classes I am given to the best of my ability and do the absolute best job I can do for my students. The only thing I do not like about my schedule is that my classes are too large, but I looked at each student’s schedule myself and I don’t see where else they could go, so I’m going to have to do the best I can.

    I don’t know anything about claims that are being made about faculty members. I do hear things from students, but I am not in those teachers’ classrooms so I cannot make a judgment. Sometimes I know that students just need to vent their frustrations, so I listen to them but that is all. If these issues are valid, then I do not think that this forum is necessarily appropriate. There must be administrative remedy avenues that can be pursued so that things can be investigated thoroughly and confidentially before a public decision is made.

    Many of you know that my daughter graduated from ASH (gasp!) That was the school that we as a family chose for her and she did well there and now does well in college. Choosing a high school is a personal decision and only a family ultimately knows what is best for their child. My son is now in the 7th grade and since he is in the gifted program, he too will have the option of coming to Bolton or going to ASH where our residence is zoned. Of course I would prefer him to come to Bolton with me, but that is a decision we will make as a family. Speaking as a parent now and not as a Bolton teacher, I must say that this blog and all of the infighting would cause me great concern if I did not know some of the history behind it and know to take much of what is being said with a grain of salt. If we truly want to help our students and help restore our school to its former glory, then we are not helping with what is being said here. I know I would hesitate sending my child to a school where all of this drama is occurring if I did not already know from being a teacher that there is drama everywhere, in every school.

    Bolton is a great school. I felt a tremendous sense of pride Friday night at the football game when I walked by the student section. Yes, I was embarrassed when you chanted my name as I walked by, but it was awesome to see so much school spirit, even when we were losing the game! That is true school spirit, when you back not just a winning team, but YOUR team, win or lose. The painted faces, sea of blue shirts, and cheering parents and students made me realize that I had made the right choice to stay at Bolton. I’m there for the long haul, as long as I am wanted there, because I enjoy what I do and I love the students I serve. Go Bears!

    Cathy Martinez
    Chemistry and Physics Teacher
    Bolton High School

  131. Question for Ms. Martinez:

    How would you suggest that parents and teachers at Bolton get the truth out and get things changed in light of the fact that meetings with Mr. Higgins have not changed anything, and meetings with the superintendent have been rebuffed?

    People have tried to change things by going through the traditional and ethical channels. That has failed. Rather than watch a school we love crumble around us, we have responded with the truth on this thread.

    The veil of anonymity has simply done two things:

    1) Saved Bolton teachers from career suicide (a term taken from a previous blogger).

    2) Prevented children of bloggers to suffer from revenge-seeking teachers and administrators.

    You are a fantastic teacher, Ms. Martinez, as students, parents, and other educators will attest. I am happy for you that the fiasco presently going on at Bolton has not broken your spirit. I wish I could say the same for other teachers, parents, and students.

  132. “Certainly, if those decisions were made last year and I was not informed until the beginning of the school year, that is wrong.”

    How would you feel if you knew that those decisions were made in APRIL, but Mr. Higgins chose not to tell the affected teachers?

    Ms. Self found out she was to be transferred in July, not by Mr. Higgins, but by someone from the school board office personnel department. He didn’t even have the courtesy to tell her himself. I think that is lower than low.

  133. It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt eh, Lamar? It wasn’t all that long ago that one of the blogs was rife with detrimental remarks about your family and you personally. You didn’t appreciate it and it’s just like that now. People are being being discussed on here without regard to truth or anything other than hearsay and it’s fine with you.


  134. What are the candidates running for Dr. Sams seat planning on doing to fix the huge mess he has made?? Has it been discussed? Or is everyone only concerned about the mayoral election??

  135. Lamar,

    Let me get this right. When anyone disagrees with you feel threatened and any disparaginging remarks about your blog are unwelcome. I thought all posts were welcome. Looks like Ben Dover was right.

    Where were the threating remarks? Anyone else see them?

    Senator McCarthy, “Have you no shame.”

    Maybe this applies to you.

  136. So the post about Ms. Self and Ms. Toney being “special friends” was true. Thank you for the verification. I would not want to get the facts wrong.

  137. Let me pose a question. You are the new principal at any high school and from the day you walk in the door a teacher works against you both at school and in the community, for whatever reason. What would you do with that teacher?

  138. Anonymous 10:48 – I hope you are a student, because I’d hate to think that an adult could be so infantile and immature.

    Anonymous 10:53 – ALL teachers, whether they were against Ms. Toney leaving or not, gave Mr. Higgins the benefit of the doubt. It was not his fault that he was thrown into the situation. However, his actions since becoming principal are solely his responsiblility. And if Bolton teachers are in the community telling others of his huge mistakes and lack of qualification for the position, it is their right to tell the truth. But to suggest that he was sabatoged from the beginning is preposterous. He has dug his own grave, with help only from Dr. Sams, Mr. Jones, and Nancy Monroe.

  139. To accuse someone of providing a forum for libel is a strong accusation and I simply ask that these accusations be backed up with facts, e-mailed to my personal account (

    Until I posted this topic, I wasn’t aware of the issues affecting Bolton High School. I asked questions, and the community responded with answers.

    It’s counterproductive to blame me for anything, as I have only provided a free venue for people to anonymously express their opinions.

    And what the hell does Joe McCarthy have to do with anything? You either:

    a) Don’t understand the purpose of an internet blog.
    b) Don’t like what’s being said about you, and instead of responding to it directly, you’d rather place the blame on me.

    Well, as I said before, I can only take responsibility for what I write, and as I do not personally know any of the people discussed in this thread, the only way you can ensure the facts are brought to light is by TELLING THE TRUTH.

  140. To Anons 10:10 and 10:18, I am sorry to tell you that I don’t have any answers for you. As I said in my post, I do not know all of the political history with the RPSB, so I am not the best person to ask. Even though I don’t think I’m permitted to be politically active, I do know that Bolton High School could not ask for better supporters than it has from many families, one example of which are the Webbs. Now that Mrs. Pam Webb is running for school board, perhaps we can all back her and pray that someone with her impeccable character and integrity can make a difference and be the voice of change. From what I understand, current problems can be attributed to many factors, some of which we unfortunately cannot go back in time and do over. What we can do is back someone who knows our school and has demonstrated great concern regarding its issues. I don’t live in Mrs. Webb’s district, so I cannot cast my vote for her, but since you asked me, my hope for the betterment of the school I have come to love so much rests with her.

  141. “Even though I don’t think I’m permitted to be politically active.” Being a school board employee does not relieve you of your rights as an American citizen! But, the things that John Sams and the like have done to those who oppose him in any way would tend to make school board employees feel that they have lost their civil rights. This is exactly the point, people!

    P.S. Mrs. Webb’s opposition is a Sams puppet.

  142. i’m a recent alum of Bolton, and watching the school slowly fall apart due to neglect, willfull misunderstandings, and politics was a terrible experience. Bolton changed my life. period. I would never have made it to, or even considered, the university I have the priveledge to study at now without the guidance of the amazing faculty. There are serious problems at Bolton, but the students and the several facutlly members whose sole goal each day is to impact their students give me hope for its future.

  143. Waht hell will be paid by Bolton’s faculty when Dr. Sams loses the election. He will suddenly have alot of time on his hands. Beware.

  144. I agree with Martinez. The majority of the faculty that are there choose to be at Bolton.
    We love Bolton and do what we can from our classrooms to bring Bolton back. If we voice our concerns, and it doesn’t pass the “monroe self appointed admin. asst.,(Higgins allows this) then you are finished at Bolton. Just ask past English teachers who are no longer at Bolton.

    I too have not lived here for very long. Alexandria is like any other small town. If you’re not from here you work you rear end off constantly ‘proving’ yourself and you may never ‘fit in’. I also have heard the rumors floating in the community and at school. I listen to the students concerns but that’s as far as it goes. Unlike Monroe, I’m too busy with my full classes to worry about what’s going on in others. The reason I can say this is during my planning period Monroe has almost always been talking to Higgins either in his office or in the hallway. She’s the first English teacher I’ve seen have that much time on her hands. But in all fairness she only has a hand full of students. Parmley is overworked trying doing Higgins job. He has been to my room several times offering his assistance and making suggestions after he has checked my lesson plans (which wasn’t done last year, Higgins took them up). Williams is overworked with discipline issues. While Higgins walks around yelling at kids to tuck in their shirts. I tried to give Higgins the benefit of the doubt, but like it’s been said, he must take responsibility for the decisions he’s made as the principal of Bolton.

  145. I would like to remind everyone about why Bolton is so small. Althought there are administrative issues, the main cause is the zone.

    After the next issue is resolved with the deseg order, it will be interesting to see if the zone is changed so all of the students in Alexandria can go to school in Alexandria instead of being shipped off to Pineville and Tioga just because they are black.

    I hope the school board addresses this issue, but I doubt the parents of students affected will bother to attend any meetings. They did not reach their current economic level by showing lots of initiative.

    The children are the true political pawns in this whole issue.

  146. Ms. Monroe does not teach an AP class, but since she is AP trained and head of the English department,she is assisting the new AP teacher. She has no conference period this year.

  147. Has anyone looked at what White Castle was before Mr. Higgins took over there? It was a low-scoring at-risk school, but he managed to bring up their scores considerably.

  148. I understand they chose the most experienced person that applied for the Bolton post. It is a shame that this man has been exposed to our shameful small town petty politics

  149. No, she is taking over the AP class. She does not think anyone else is competent. The “new” teacher she is helping has been teaching at least 20 years. She has 2 planning periods. Plus she has “student workers”. No other teachers have this type of help.

    Remember, it must be nancy’s way, or it is wrong.

  150. I agree with the teacher that said Monroe is the keeper of the traditions. We may not like her class, but she has Bolton blue in her.

  151. “I understand they chose the most experienced person that applied for the Bolton post. It is a shame that this man has been exposed to our shameful small town petty politics.”

    They had no legitimate reason to remove Ms. Toney in the first place. If the “small town petty politics” spearheaded by Dr. Sams hadn’t come into play, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    This man, as principal anywhere, is a joke. As principal of Bolton, it’s an outrage.

  152. Mrs. Toney is not working at ASH. She is the supervisior for the parish of English, foreign language, and social studies, which requires her to visit all teachers in those departments at every high school.

  153. You want facts about Mr. Higgins’ tenure at White Castle? Here you go.

    From the Louisiana Department of Education website, these are the figures given from the GEE test from the 1996-97 school year (about when Higgins entered) and the 2004-05 school year (the year he left). The numbers reflect the percentage of students scoring basic or above.

    ELA ’97 – 71%
    ’05 – 65%

    Math ’97 – 80%
    ’05 – 55%

    Science ’97 – 80%
    ’05 – 36%

    Social Studies ’97 – 90%
    ’05 – 56%

    I fail to see what scores were brought up considerably. Or were you talking about the scores of the basketball games?

  154. Monroe may think she is the keeper of tradition, but she only keeps the traditions that she feels are important. Other people could do the things that she does, btu she would rather play the martyr.

    and, god forbid anything change without her permission. once again I ask you, why did all the gifted students (juniors and seniors) opt out of her classes this year??

  155. Mr. higgins did not specifically apply for the principal position. The AD was for principal for any school in the parish, then the superientendent assigned principals. when he interviewed it was NOT for a specific job.

  156. That means she can mess up all of the school in the parish. But remember she does have a “special fiend” at ASH so I am sure she is ther often.

  157. Anon 6:09 – You are as illiterate as you are ignorant. I hope you aren’t a so-called “adult.” The fact that you can legally vote and drink frightens me.

  158. I decided to address some issues in the above discussions. I am a parent, school board employee, and I have had two other children who went to ASH and one at Bolton. I know for a fact that in any situation the teacher will make or break any classroom. She sets the atmosphere for learning. I also realize that not every person is equal in talent, ability academic or atheletic, or has the personality to be goal driven or unmotivated to learn. I do know that a good teacher is good in ANY situation. The ultimate goal is for EVERY student to learn the material the best way we can present it. There is differentiated teaching and helping each student be successful. Are all teachers so dedicated and attuned to their students?? NO. The VOTECH issue came about because there is a new program open to students who can not pass the GEE for whatever the reasons. The program is called Skill Options and it offers students a viable way to gain skills necessary for employment whenever they leave high school. Those skills that are being taught are auto mechanics; welding; electical; and carpentry. Not everyone is college material and finally the administration is seeing that. Can Bolton be both academically superior and have vo-tech classes? Quite frankly, YES! I know personally people who do not have a college education and make more per year than some physicians do. They are contractors; plumbers; electricians; and painters. Do I take Dr. Sams position or Mr Higgins side? No I take the side of the kids who need to learn so that one day they will be a successful and sound human being who believes in being a good citizen. This person needs to learn lessons for later life experiences through school and family. Teachers only have influence over school not family issues. Does school experiences influence the way a person perceives the world and himself? Yes, and can a teacher have a negative or positive influence on that student? Yes, but not all experiences that are bad have a devastating effect on a person. Life is a learning experience and one important lesson is to turn bad experiences to a good lesson. A person grows from the bad. So my concern is to let the people who can and will make a difference in a child’s life do. I always tell my own children that they will have to deal with bad experiences bosses and people who do wrong all of their lives. Now in school is the best way to learn how to turn negative things positive. It all depends upon you not someone else.

  159. Go to the Louisiana Department of Education’s website. On White Castle’s 1996-97 school report card, it clearly states “GEE – Percent Passing.”

  160. Yes, but Dr. Sams didn’t want to add some VoTech courses to Bolton’s curriculum, he wanted to turn Bolton into a strictly VoTech high school. Bolton would have gladly accepted those classes, especially since some of the lower academic achievers were M to M-ing to other schools.

  161. The new AP teacher doesn’t have 2 planning periods, nor student workers, and because she is such a good English teacher has been assigned AP, but this is her first year.

    You don’t teach at Bolton, or you would know this!

  162. No, Nancy wasn’t her “special friend.” But now that Self and Toney are living openly, it is really none of our business who is and isn’t a special friend. Is it?

    Let it go, Kelly! Just get over it. It will eat you up to carry such a grudge. You are ruining the school you claim to love so much. You are hurting Penny. Let it be.

  163. Stop all the personal stuff. Bolton is great. Lamar is only trying to get us to trash it. Don’t fall into his ASH trap!!
    Beware little man, we know your motivation.

  164. No, the AP English teacher has taught for years. this is her first year teaching AP, but so what. If she is qualified to teach AP, she should be able to handle it. It is just tough with nancy looking over your back, ready to pounce if you make a mistake, or don’t do things her way.

    Ms. Monroe is the one with more than one plannig period and student workers.

  165. Why should Sams not be brought up?? He is the one that started all of the problems, and helps them continue today. He is currently trying to get rid of Ms. Gourgues, one of the best teachers at Bolton High School.

    Ask him what happened to the former librarian that johnson replaced, do you think she chose to leave??

    Ask how higgins is allowed to have so much excessive faculty and ms. toney had a bare bones staff??

  166. Besides, hasn’t everything been said (AND more). You really aren’t helping the matter. I think you are really making up things when you say Mr. Sams tried to get rid of Mrs. Gourges. Why do I think this, because the former librarian did not choose to leave. When the Bolton numbers were low, she was reassigned because there was a need for her elsewhere and the principla didn’t want to cut core staff.

    When the numbers climbed back up, they were able to hire another librarian. The former librarian had already settled in to her new job.

    You really must check your facts before you speak. You damage your credibitlity with such outlandish statements.

  167. No. Charlene johnson planned on getting that job fron the moment she stepped on campus. She was in the library the day after Ms. Lee left. They reassigned the few kids she did have. I believe she was mostly an “administrative assistant” . The cut the librian and kept the fluff.

    If you don’t think Sams is trying to get rid of Ms. Gourgues, go ask her yourself, or ask Mr. Higgins, or even Dr. Sams.

  168. **”To accuse someone of providing a forum for libel is a strong accusation and I simply ask that these accusations be backed up with facts, e-mailed to my personal account (”**

    You are asking that people disprove allegations privately after they are made rather than to prove them publicly before they are made. This is a no-win situation. As the owner of the forum, you should require that proof before you allow the post to happen.

    If a comment says or implies a teacher is having an affair with the principal – that IS serious. If a comment says or implies that teachers and principals are “special” friends – it IS serious. If a comment says or implies that teachers are neglectful in their professional duties – it IS serious. If a comment discusses a minor by name – it IS serious. It IS libelous when you allow those types of comments to be posted.

    Are you the one being libelous? No, but you are allowing this forum to be misused when you allow comments like that to be put out there.

    How can Ms. Toney, Ms. Self, Ms. Monroe, Mr. Higgins, Ms. Coffman, Ms. Mathews, or even a student, disprove the types of allegations that are being made? The damage to those individuals’ reputations was done as soon as you allowed those comments to run. No matter what they do or say, no matter that the allegations are not true – someone will always remember that the comment was made on this site.

    It is my understanding (and, hey, maybe I am wrong) that the purpose of a blog was for the blogger to express his or her OWN opinion. I did not realize the purpose of a blog was to provide an open forum for anonymous comments and accusations. At the very least, the anonymous contributors should be identified with a unique moniker so we know if the accusations are being made by 1 person or 10 people.

    As for proof of any of the accusations, I don’t see how there can be any. Unless someone has access to time-clock records, or they are following a teacher around school, or they are helping grade papers, or they are in every meeting and in every classroom in that school – what proof or disproof can be provided? The only thing these teachers can do is say “Not true!” and hope people will believe them. I can say that I know the accusations are not true – but how do I prove that to you via this venue?

    Obviously the people who are criticizing these people don’t know them very well. If you did, you would know that all of the faculty members at Bolton are dedicated, caring people whose biggest goal is to ensure the success of our students and to ensure the success of our school. All of our teachers do have rich, full lives outside of school, and to imply otherwise is to minimize the work they do. People do not choose to sponsor 8 or 9 organizations/events just to “wield power.” They do it so those groups can continue to exist. Faculty members can and do choose to opt out of sponsoring groups. When that happens, the group either dies or someone sacrifices their time to take it. Ms. Monroe should be thanked for taking on so many tasks, not vilified. If she wasn’t helping, those events would cease to happen, and the students would suffer. And I can tell you as a FACT, that cheer sponsors do not get paid enough to stay at school until 6 or 6:30 PM. They are paid one time and the amount is less than one half of one month’s salary. Teachers are not required to go into the office to clock-in, so how could anyone have any idea of when a teacher clocked in unless they have access to those records? If I choose to enter by the back stairs and use the elevator to get to my room, does that mean I am going to be accused of arriving late since this “accuser” is apparently watching the front of the school?

    I have taught at Bolton High School for 18 years. That is a fact. I have known all of these teachers named in these posts for many years. That is a fact. I have chosen to send my own children to Bolton High School instead of the schools for which they were zoned. That is a fact. My children have been students in these teachers’ classes. That is a fact. My children did not always make good grades, but they received the grades they earned – whether that was an A or an F, whether they were male or female, whether they were a danceline member or a jock. That is a fact.

    Did my children learn in these classes? Yes. Were they being prepared for college? Definitely. Were they being pushed to excel beyond their self imposed limitations? Absolutely. Are they better people for having attended Bolton High School? In my opinion, yes.

    I think Bolton is the best high school in this parish. I enjoy working there, and my children have enjoyed attending the school. Were they always 100% happy with their classes and their teachers? No, but what child is always happy? In my experience, children tend to complain when they are being held to higher standards than they are used to. The teachers being criticized here are known for having high standards in the classroom, and for demanding more from their students. If you need concrete proof of effective teaching methods, check the AP, ACT, and GEE scores. The teachers who are labeled here as ”terrible” have taught the students who have consistently received the highest test scores in the parish. Is that an accident? I think not. I know it is due to the hard work of the dedicated faculty at Bolton, and I hope that this kind of negative energy does not ruin the school I love so much.

    Dawayna Sanders
    Journalism teacher
    Parent of ’03 Bolton graduate, ’06 Bolton graduate, and current Bolton freshman

  169. I have just finished reading this forum and am disturbed by its hostility, innuendo, and plain meanness. For twelve years, I was blessed to be a teacher at Bolton High School. I served two excellent administrators in Ron Akins and Penny Toney. I loved my time there until last year.

    That year began in June when newly appointed principal, Mr. Higgins, called in the leaders under Ms. Toney to tell us he had the right to transfer us but was giving us a “chance,” even though we had been associated with the prior administration. John Sams had identified us as “the clique” and labeled us as dangerous to Mr. Higgins. On that day, I told Mr. Higgins that I would be loyal to Bolton High School but never to John Sams and that if I needed to request a transfer, I would.

    I believed in what we had created at Bolton: a learning community, full of opportunity for all students. I wanted to stay. But in staying I subjected myself to a horrific experience: the learning community fell apart, politics became a major factor for favor, and students dropped out of the center of the school’s attention. I hated to see all the years’ of the Rapides Foundation Initiative
    work simply disappear. We had made great strides in student learning and had the documentation to prove it. I was miserable as we abandoned practice after practice, not even having a faculty meeting all year.

    I am not perfect. I have flaws like anyone else and have incurred the wrath of the Sams’ supporters, but I have always had the best interest of students at heart. I have never been bitter nor vindictive. But I am impassioned and I refuse to compromise on certain issues.

    On July 18, this summer, Ms. Sharon Miller, personnel director, called me in to tell me Mr. Higgins was transferring me. I was surprised since every time I had seen Mr. Higgins, he had said my job at Bolton was safe; nor had he contacted me to tell me personally that he was ridding himself of me. I went to him that day, but he offered no real reason for my transfer except for my dislike of Nancy Monroe and my obvious hatred for John Sams. He had no complaint about my work and had, indeed, given me an excellent evaluation. While at Bolton, I devoted my passion for teaching to my students and served on state level committees, building the comprehensive curriculum, setting grade level expectations for each grade and developing a new and improved statewide assessment. I believe in education and represented my school well. I am proud to have been a part of the Bolton faculty when students were key and learning was the central focus.

    In July, I talked with Mr. Moreau and have been happily at ASH ever since. It is a privilege to teach without John Sams breathing down my neck and to work with an English department chaired by the kind and erudite Helen Hemingway, who recognizes modern methodologies and student-centered instruction. I look forward to serving many students as I put my passion to teach to work at Alexandria Senior High.

    Many have questioned the validity of these claims against John Sams. I, as many others, have verifiable evidence of these accusations, which will appear in a different forum at a different place and time. I am glad that Lamar is allowing people to voice their concerns and their experiences. I am sorry that some feel compelled to deal in innuendo and slurs. I believed in Ms. Toney’s approach to education; I admire her for her years of service to Bolton High School and to our community and for the way she has continued to do her best for the students of Rapides Parish in her new capacity. I am proud to call her my friend. Those who hint of other than a sincere friendship simply do not know either Ms. Toney or me very well at all.

    I am not a part of this “new” Bolton, nor do I want to be. The Bolton I believed in is long gone. I am involved with my present and my future, both of which are positive. I am sad for those who remain in the turmoil there, particularly the students who will suffer the most from all of this. However, John Sams was slighted by this school, and he has had his revenge. As with much of what he does, there will be no going back.

    As this blog continues, it will do so without me. I simply wanted to clarify my position. I do not want my life to be cluttered with hatred and meanness. I have put Bolton behind me and I am resigned to letting Nancy, Charlene, and John finish the job of tearing the remains apart. As for me, I am once again part of building a program that puts learning at the center.

    Bloggers: Write about those who still care about your plight.

    Kelly L. Self

  170. I couldn’t have said it better. Please keep the rest of us stuck at Bolton in mind when you hear of a position opening up at your school. I am afraid Bolton won’t be here next year. Good Luck Kelly.

  171. “When the Bolton numbers were low, she was reassigned because there was a need for her elsewhere and the principla didn’t want to cut core staff.

    When the numbers climbed back up, they were able to hire another librarian.”

    Bolton’s numbers never climbed back up for the 2005-06 school year. Johnson was there from the beginning, and was teaching two sections of Ecrivez and telling all the students that she was “an assistant principal.” Besides, she was never counted in the teacher count. She was a “free” teacher given to Bolton per John Sams’ wishes. Period. When she was told at mid-semester that she would have to teach a social studies class in the spring, she threatened to quit. So, instead, that class was given to Mr. Mitchell, who is only certified in SPED mild/moderate. That is a FACT.

    Mr. Higgins has said on two occasions that I have personally heard that he “didn’t know I’m not required to tell the truth on the official count.” That is a FACT.

    He also told Ms. Self up to the last week of summer school that she would be teaching the same thing that she did last year AT BOLTON. That didn’t happen, did it?

  172. Ms. Self,

    Be glad you’re gone. Bolton’s not Bolton anymore.

    The students at ASH are lucky to have you as a teacher.

    It used to be OK that Bolton didn’t have numerous sports achievements, because our academics were always superior. Now what will we say? Our scores are OK right now, but it won’t take long for them to drop.

  173. “Individuals who post messages anonymously, criticizing companies, bosses, public officials and others, often make valid criticisms. Other times their speech could contain damaging false statements of fact that cross the line into defamation. Online libel remains a risk for those who blog, as it does for any writer or reporter in any medium.”

    “Generally, defamation is a false and unprivileged statement of fact that is harmful to someone’s reputation, and published “with fault,” meaning as a result of negligence or malice. State laws often define defamation in specific ways. Libel is a written defamation; slander is a spoken defamation.”
    “Yes. Truth is an absolute defense to a defamation claim. But keep in mind that the truth may be difficult and expensive to prove.”

    “Bloggers can be both a provider and a user of interactive computer services. Bloggers are users when they create and edit blogs through a service provider, and they are providers to the extent that they allow third parties to add comments or other material to their blogs.”

    “Your readers’ comments, entries written by guest bloggers, tips sent by email, and information provided to you through an RSS feed would all likely be considered information provided by another content provider. This would mean that you would not be held liable for defamatory statements contained in it.”

    Lamar, you are not clear in this case. Check your Louisiana Law. Anyone who posts on your blog as anonymous with your permission has left your open for a libel case.
    Anyone who makes a statement on a blog that is not true or can be proven true is liable and open for a lible case.

  174. Back to the topic. What is the school board going to do to fix Bolton’s student count if anything??

    Will getting out of the deseg order change the zones?

    What can the community do to help the school?

  175. I doubt the libel idea goes anywhere. You have seen first hand testimony here that basically vindicates many of the alleged slanderous accusations.

    The truth is out. Its too late now.

    What will the Board do? What will Higgins do? Will Monroe leave?
    Will Big Chief Cumtux rise from the 50 yard line of the football field to restore law and order and oust the evil doers?

    Stay tuned!!!!!!!

  176. I thought bringing in Higgins was supposed to help the sports programs and bring back the black students??

    How is that working??

  177. It’s too early to predict what will happen to Bolton. We are all waiting on the feds and deseg order. That could impact scores at every school, enrollment and faculty needs also.

  178. Hey, give our new coaches and the kids a chance. They didn’t set the beginning schedule against the big schools. We’re plays schools- some 2x our size.

  179. By the way, why knock the coaches of today? They are certified and highly qualified teachers. They teach math, science, social studies, health, journalism, English, foreign languages, etc.
    It’s a great way to earn extra income in education if you are head of household. It’s also a great way to impact the lives of kids.

  180. We only play “big” schools because our enrollement dropped. these are the same schools that Bolton has played for years.

    Ask your children, if they go to a public high school, what they did in PE. I guarantee if they are at Bolton in Boys PE, they did nothing, or maybe played basketball.

    I overheard a great conversation the other day between some freshmen and sophmores. the girls were talking about what they were doing in PE.
    freshmen boy: “well, we haven’t started doping anyhting yet”
    Sophmore boy: ” YET?? you won’t ever do anything.”
    freshman girl: ” we do stuff everyday, plus we have tests”
    sophmore girl: “boys PE is only for athletes”

    Ask your son what he did in PE today, my guess is homework for another class. The coaches are too busy to teach your son.

  181. “It’s a great way to earn extra income in education if you are head of household. It’s also a great way to impact the lives of kids.”

    You mean MALE coaches can earn extra money to help their families, but FEMALE teachers are expected to give up free time for student council, and debate and NHS, and afterschool tutoring, homecoming, other clubs and dances and working football games, because they have HUISBANDS.

  182. Since we only have one male PE teacher and one female PE teacher, that pretty much narrows that down.

    Now let’s ask your kids what they learned in your class today.

  183. i haven’t read all of these comments, but figured i’d put in my two cents.

    how are kids supposed to have a normal highschool experience when bolton is going through so many damn changes every year.

    even though i graduated in may, i was deeply disturbed that one of the greatest teachers i’ve had got moved to ash. (kelly self) i mean, why did they have to go and do that? that’s fucked up.
    and to whoever said that nancy monroe has “blue” in her. fuck that shit. nancy monroe shouldn’t even be teaching. i learned NOTHING in her class. it was a waste of my god damn time. all she does is bruise students’ confidence in their writing. she’s just a jerk.

    and about higgins… can anyone say REDICULOUS?? last year, he wore a fake fur coat to one of the football games. i suppose he was going for a “bear” look, but he looked like a complete fool. at the end of the year, one student sort cracked a joke about it at an assembly, and higgins took it completely the wrong way. higgins took it as him admiring his coat when he was MAKING FUN OF IT.

    i guess what i’m saying doesn’t really matter in the long run. it’s just not fair the amount of bullshit that bolton has had to put up with during the past several years.

  184. First of all, to the anonymous person who wrote me about the legal rights of a blogger, I appreciate the consideration, but I think you should review this once again:

    “Your readers’ comments, entries written by guest bloggers, tips sent by email, and information provided to you through an RSS feed would all likely be considered information provided by another content provider. This would mean that you would NOT be held liable for defamatory statements contained in it.”

    Got it?

    Every time a person blogs, whether or not they chose to use the anonymous feature, my StatCounter records their unique IP address, which can actually be traced, if necessary, directly to the specific computer they used. I cannot be held liable for the comments made by third parties, and though I am appalled and dismayed by some of the things said here, I haven’t heard anything specific about what exactly qualifies as libel on this blog. Ms. Self has cleared up the patently ridiculous accusations leveled against her, which probably wouldn’t even qualify as defamation due to the obvious stupidity of its assertions.

    To Mrs. Sanders,

    As a teacher of journalism for 18 years, I respect your opinion on ethics, and I will do my best to uphold my personal responsibilities to my readership. However, I will not let the voices of pettiness and ignorance determine the efficacy of this blog. Anonymity provides people with the ability to express opinions they otherwise couldn’t, and though it’s ashame some people take advantage of this to disparage others, we shouldn’t allow this small minority to set the rules for the rest of us. Period. As I stated from the beginning, I have no qualms deleting entries that contain blatently false information– but more often than not, the blogging community CORRECTS these errors before they are taken seriously. (That seems to be what has happened here).

    One more thing, I have noticed that the people most concerned about what is being written on this blog are those with a vested interest in maintaining and preserving the status quo. The reason I created this post was because I recognized a few things:
    1. The drop in enrollment at Bolton means Bolton will not have access to the same resources and monies that it did five years ago.
    2. Like it or not, Bolton’s reputation as an academic “powerhouse” seems to be a thing of the past.
    3. Bolton is an incredibly important part of Alexandria’s character and history.

    Thank you to all who have contributed, particularly to the teachers and alumns. When you get threatened with the “threat” of a lawsuit, you know you’re waking people up.


  185. Lamar, I kind of hope someone sends you a cease and desist letter because of this post. If I know you and I think I do, you’ll post the letter right here on the blog.

    Keep up the good work.

  186. George Bush you need to go back to third grade english. You are not qualified to be the President of the U.S. Your not even from Alexandria.

  187. I would honestly like to know how many bloggers here did’nt study or put forth the effort to succeed at Bolton? If someone earns a failing mark from an educator, naturally, they will be upset with them.

    Due to their stupidity, teachers gain a bad repuation. I graduated from Bolton in 2003, i had my good times, and my bad. I would not trade a minute of it for anything.

    Penny Toney could not have been a better principal. She cared for the students individually. I went to speak with her several times about several things and her door was open for me to do so. Mr. Higgins seems like a nice guy who is working with the teachers one on one as much as possible.

    Ms. Self made me work harder than ever before in English 4 AP, and I thank her for that each time I write a paper.

    Ms. Johnson is a cold hearted woman and a half. She is rude, completley fridgid, and does not deserve to call herself an educator, much less a “librarian”. The sheer thought of her sends a morbid chill down my spine. I hope she rots in hell. (I never even had her class.) If you get a chance, ask a random faculty member what they feel about the wicked witch of the stacks. Or better yet, go use the library (if you dare).

    Ms. Lee was one of the nicest ladies you have ever met who got the job done in an efficient manner. I have seen her somewhat recently and learned she is doing very well elsewhere as an educator. The reason she was let go from bolton is because the enrollment was so low, that cuts needed to be made somewhere. Ms. Lee’s dismisal was not related to bringing in Ms. Johnson.

    Ms. Monroe is one of the most dear sweet ladies i have ever encountered. She is tough, but delivers an unmatched level of education. She had a wonderful sense of humor and appreciates help when it is given. She may have a great deal to do with running Bolton, but as far as I am concerned, I would not have it any other way. She keeps the school respectful. If you want to know the reason why Bolton is able to host the ACT, it’s not because of the guidance office, it is because of Ms. Nancy. She works harder than most people i’ve ever met in any working enviornment for the same pay rate. If i had to use a word to desribe her to best, it would be commendable.

    I also beleive a foul comment was made about Ms. Mathews. On what grounds can you say something bad about someone dressing professionally? She is one of the most enthusiastic teachers I’ve ever had. She respects the students regardless of background or behavior.

    It sucks that by whatever means the zones and districts were changed. It sucks that people had to leave, or were moved. I’m not going to point any political fingers (John Sams).

    Out of respect to peers, factulty, and others to remain unmentioned. I am staying anonymous.

    I respect the fact that Lamar allows that priveledge. I know Lamar socially, and would hope everyone to know him as the respectable gentlmen, and friend that he is. I will personally account for Lamar, (trace my IP add. if necessary) that he had absolutley no ill will for the outcome of this blog.

    PS: Before anyone goes in to a hissy fit, read the blog in total before making a basic opinion on it. Several people have praise to be written for the school.


    I would honestly like to know how many bloggers here didn’t study or put forth the effort to succeed at Bolton? If someone earns a failing mark from an educator, naturally, they will be upset with them.

    Due to their stupidity, teachers gain a bad reputation. I graduated from Bolton in 2003, i had my good times, and my bad. I would not trade a minute of it for anything.

    Penny Toney could not have been a better principal. She cared for the students individually. I went to speak with her several times about several things and her door was open for me to do so. Mr. Higgins seems like a nice guy who is working with the teachers one on one as much as possible.

    Ms. Self made me work harder than ever before in English 4 AP, and I thank her for that each time I write a paper.

    Ms. Johnson is a cold hearted woman and a half. She is rude, completely frigid, and does not deserve to call herself an educator, much less a “librarian”. The sheer thought of her sends a morbid chill down my spine. I hope she rots in hell. (I never even had her class.) If you get a chance, ask a random faculty member what they feel about the wicked witch of the stacks. Or better yet, go use the library (if you dare).

    Ms. Lee was one of the nicest ladies you have ever met who got the job done in an efficient manner. I have seen her somewhat recently and learned she is doing very well elsewhere as an educator. The reason she was let go from Bolton is because the enrollment was so low, that cuts needed to be made somewhere. Ms. Lee’s dismissal was not related to bringing in Ms. Johnson.

    Ms. Monroe is one of the dearest sweet ladies I have ever encountered. She is tough, but delivers an unmatched level of education. She had a wonderful sense of humor and appreciates help when it is given. She may have a great deal to do with running Bolton, but as far as I am concerned, I would not have it any other way. She keeps the school respectful. If you want to know the reason why Bolton is able to host the ACT, it’s not because of the guidance office; it is because of Ms. Nancy. She works harder than most people I’ve ever met in any working environment for the same pay rate. If i had to use a word to describe her to best, it would be commendable.

    I also believe a foul comment was made about Ms. Mathews. On what grounds can you say something bad about someone dressing professionally? She is one of the most enthusiastic teachers I’ve ever had. She respects the students regardless of background or behavior.

    It sucks that by whatever means the zones and districts were changed. It sucks that people had to leave, or were moved. I’m not going to point any political fingers (John Sams).

    Out of respect to peers, factulty, and others to remain unmentioned. I am staying anonymous.

    I respect the fact that Lamar allows that privilege. I know Lamar socially, and would hope everyone to know him as the respectable gentlemen, and friend that he is. I will personally account for Lamar, (trace my IP add. if necessary) that he had absolutely no ill will for the outcome of this blog.

    PS: Before anyone goes in to a hissy fit, read the blog in total before making a basic opinion on it. Several people have praise to be written for the school.

  189. I will not stop blogging due to the recent threats of libel. Everything I’ve said, warts and all, has been true. Like I said in a previous post, just because you don’t like the truth doesn’t make it any less true.

  190. Mrs. Dewayna Sanders at Bolton High School sent a link to this blog to all the teachers and several students. I guess now no one can deny it existence.

    My question is, if she is so concerned about libel, why is she sending everyone she knows to look at it??

  191. I sent it to the people who I thought needed to know it existed. I am not someone who thinks ignoring a problem will make it disappear. Why would we want to deny the existence of this blog? I think the faculty and students of Bolton have the right to know what is being said about them. That doesn’t change my opinion about the nature of the comments found here. If you want an open exchange of ideas as Lamar says he does, then shouldn’t everyone involved have the opportunity to speak?

  192. I have been overwhelmed with work and book-larinin’ these past few weeks, and haven’t really been keeping up with Lamar’s blog. I try to stay a relevant politico, but sometimes I fall down on the job! You can imagine my shock when a friend from high school–with whom I have not held an entire conversation in about three years–called me just to tell me about this post.

    I graduated from Bolton in 2003, which means that I walked its halls with both Mr. Akins and Ms. Toney serving as principal. I had classes with almost every one of the teachers mentioned here: Ms. Self, Ms. Monroe, Ms. Johnson, Mrs. Gourges, Ms. Coffman, etc. Ms. Lee was the librarian for three of the years I was there, Mrs. Mitterway the counselor for a while and then Ms. Hammond. I was on the debate team with two of Dr. Sams’ children (Erika and Andy) and have met him a few times. I rode many hours in buses and cars to debate tournaments, literary rallies, orchestra gigs with Julia Davis (the oldest living piano player but still amazing), mock trial practices, plays, games–everything. For four years, Bolton was the whole of my heart; and even now, the victories, the joys, the disappointments, and the spirit still live somewhere just beneath my skin.

    In short: I saw or heard about many of the things written here (at least, those things that are true), but I have never, for one second, felt like I received anything less than a stellar education at Bolton High School. My incredible experiences there have informed the person I am now, and also the person I hope to grow to become.

    After two hours of wading through the treacherous lies, the malignant innuendo, and the absolutely ridiculous bickering that I have seen here, I have found only one thing that I completely agree with: the power struggle at hand is evidently becoming detrimental to Bolton’s students and reputation. When I read this board, I couldn’t possibly care less which teacher is friends (or otherwise) with whom, whose attitudes are sour, which faculty members’ feelings are hurt, or which teachers are “liked” versus “unliked.” What absolutely shakes me to my core is the possibility that these kinds of minutiae have become so public and vitriolic that they have made it possible that some student, some day, may walk out of my alma matter with a diploma that means nothing more than a four-year exposure to petty backbiting.

    It makes me sad to admit that while I was a Bolton, the heavy-handed politics of all sides were public knowledge to students. Any time there was tension, it was palpable. We, as students, knew not only who we didn’t like, but which teachers didn’t like other teachers, and often why. This was not widespread–it manifested itself only amongst a few, and those few were just carefully vociferous enough to make their feelings known, however inexplicitly, to students. If I had any criticism of my time there, it would be just that. While I respected the faculty and staff for being not only exceptionally qualified and unmatched in professionalism during class hours, the second they stepped into the hallways, all bets were off. It is easy for former students to see how these

    I suppose what I’m getting at is that I am so incredibly saddened to see politics bulldoze over the towering reputation off the school that each of its teachers and alumni (including myself) played some part in building over the course of a century. I am appalled by educators (other than those defending themselves) plunging low enough so as to sling accusations at others who–like them–have undertaken the job of shaping our the minds of our future. I am shocked at the rest of you, juggling around insinuations, insults, and thinly veiled threats as you are. When you do so, you not only undermine public faith in the excellence that Bolton typically stands for, but you impugn an entire legion of dedicated educators and staff-members to the very students they will walk into class teach tomorrow morning. How can you feel proud about that?

    I’m not saying “Keep your mouth shut don’t rock the boat.” If you are reasonable, you will understand what I am saying. If you want to talk turkey about a school board race, then go for it. Be careful, however, when you eventually spill over into the territory of politicizing and cheapening someone’s future. To you, it may just be a number or a statistic of political currency. To them, it’s a life.

    Very best,

  193. Sorry, I was reading over my post and realized that I left off half of a sentence. I was going to say, “It’s easy for former students to see how these kind of conflicts have become so dominating. Easy, but sad.”

    I’m sure any of my old teachers who read that harkened back to memories of my tendency to stop and start things in the middle…

  194. One more thing: I can see how it might sound like I am giving Dr. Sams a pass because I knew his kids. I’m really not. I have my criticisms and my praises just like everyone else. I was really just striving to be very “non-partisan” in my post up there.

  195. There’s a lot to cover, and now that I am back in town, it should be somewhat easier for me to follow this discussion.

    First, I have read every comment on this thread more than once. At this point, I have elected to only delete two entries because they contained the name/initials of a current student at Bolton. It’s incredible to me that a TEACHER, no doubt, would anonymously call out a current student by name, and I sincerely apologize to the student and his family. I was unable to make any deletions while I was in Austin, though I could keep track of the blog and post through my cell phone.

    Someone asked me if I would delete comments that contained profanity. Generally, I try not to censor people’s opinions, even when they contain profanity, because, again, this blog advocates the freedom of speech. I also believe that, like it or not, some people use profanity to express and convey strong emotion– and this subject is obviously one that some people feel strongly about.

    To Mrs. Sanders, I agree with you. If you feel that people are being discussed on this blog without their knowledge, then, by all means, they deserve the ability to respond. Moreoever, I believe that this post highlights the many strengths and weaknesses of Bolton High School, and it contains well-written, insightful posts by current and former teachers, parents, concerned citizens, and current and former students. We may not all agree on their opinions, but in reading this in totality, one is struck with a simple conclusion: Bolton is not healthy.

    Will future students be able to talk about the quality of their high school education with the same conviction as Mr. Mahoney or Mr. Freedman? Both of whom, it should be noted, are recent graduates.

    To suggest that Bolton is doing “just fine” would be to ignore and dismiss the countless voices of criticism, including present and past teachers and students. Only a person of incredible arrogance and entrenched self-interest would dismiss these voices. So, let’s face it: There is a problem, and now, something must be done.

    Thankfully, there is an election coming up, and we can all exercise our democratic right to vote for someone we believe can best correct this problem. We can also do our best to inform the candidates of the issues facing Bolton High School, in order for them to have a better understanding of what they will be facing once they are elected.

    Secondly, we can continue this discussion. It should be understood that I do not have the ability to connect a specific IP address with a specific person, and the only way this information could be reasonably obtained would be through a court order. In order to avoid this, we should stick to the issues. If this thread becomes too cumbersome, I can create another one. Simple.

  196. Mrs. Sanders may not think ignoring a problem will make it disappear, but Mr. Higgins must be.

    The students are waiting for his thoughts.

    How is he going to help our school grow??

  197. I worship Nancy Monroe. I just don’t know what it is about her.
    Could it be her undying hatred for all things good in the world? Is
    it the fact that her soul is as black as night? One thing’s
    certain: Things just haven’t been the same since she left this
    place. The sun shines brighter, the birds sing louder, and, is it
    just me, or is it starting to feel chilly in here?

  198. Lamar I don’t know you but I do appreciate the fact that you give teachers, students, and parents an avenue to express their opinions and feelings without the fear of being black balled. I am a teacher in this parish and because of the politics here I don’t feel comfortable giving my name.

    I would like to say one thing though. Everyone is blaming John Sams for Kelly Self’s transfer; not true. That is Higgin’s cover-up. He is too much of a coward to tell Kelly that it was his decision and John Sams had nothing to do with it. I don’t like Sams but I wonder, does he know that he is being blamed for something he had nothing to do with.

    I would also like to say that I am a Bolton graduate (back in the good ole days). It breaks my heart to see the downfall of a great school. When I went to Bolton (graduated in 82′) we were a Quad A school, enrollment was over 1,000, and my graduating class was half of what Bolton’s total enrollment is now. It is difficult to watch my school fall into the hands of people who don’t care (not talking about teachers) and die.

    I really wish the people of this community could be heard and changes would be made to bring back the “old” Bolton, but I’m afraid it’s too late.

    Once again, thank you for allowing me to express my thoughts and feelings without giving my name.

  199. First, I would like to start by saying I am a junior at Bolton High, and I am appalled at these comments. You know sometimes you all should look at the student body instead of arguing amongst yourselves like some pre-schoolers. Ever since I was a freshman, I’ve had a tremendous amount of Bear pride. You know, a lot of students do. We cheer on our team even if they’re losing, we chant our alma mater, we were our shirts WITH PRIDE! I’ve talked to other students from ASH that say they don’t have nearly as much school spirit as we do. And to be quite honest, it’s you all that put a damper on our spirits. When I read this, that’s exactly what it did to me! And it’s a shame because YOU are supposed to be responsible adults. And that comment about Rita Mathews was so ridiculous and mean it hurt ME. Now i read a comment that said “If you live in a glass house don’t throw stones” (or something to that effect) but yet that is all I see here. Stone-throwing. And none, NONE of you are perfect. Evverytime you type something you prove it yourselves. So lets keep in mind what you all’s negative comments about US do to US? And you’re supposed to be role-models? WOW! How about actually doing something about it instead of slandering people’s character and even the character of the great school we are. WE believe WE are great, but how can we stand unified when those who supposedly teach us to be that way are so divided?

  200. Pam represents a change. Delores doesn’t, and the mayor can’t really help out Bolton anyway. That’s the School Board’s job.

  201. so this is cute.
    i too am a junior at Bolton
    and some of these posts are incredibly tactless
    Especially for those who have never attended the school.
    Our student body works hard for everything they earn
    ie (Georgetown, UVA, NYU, George Washington University, UPenn, Emory, Rice, LeeHigh..what other rapides parish school have that current track record?)
    Without the help of Bolton’s teachers (yes, ALL OF THEM) such achievements would be extremely hard to obtain. All of my teachers are willing to stay after school and ensure that I understand the material presented in class which unfortunately, is a rarity these days.
    You cannot compare and contrast principles because each has served under different circumstances. What qualified George Washington to be the chief and commander of the continental army? he kind of started the French and Indian war… yet, he turned out to be a pretty good leader, eh? I can’t compare FDR and Washington that’s two completely different eras and two completely different (and qualified) men.
    Catch the allusion?
    What happened last year? Hurricane Katrina? That’s right; Bolton had an influx of over two hundred students. Give Mr. Higgins a break, he is very compassionate about Bolton and is working hard to transcend the status quo.
    You will not find a student body of the same caliber of ours anywhere else in the city.
    Without Bolton………I’d go to boarding school. In new england.
    (win honor and win fame)

  202. All Bolton students should be commended for having the pride in their school to comment here.

    You ask how can the faculty teach when they are divided. I ask you what has the current leadership done to bring the faculty together? Sure things weren’t perfect under Toney but they were a hell of a lot better. A divided faculty is a symptom, not the root cause. When the new princiapl tells the faculty “I can transfer any of you at any time,” is that building unity? When the new principal calls in the “clique” and lets them know they are such, is that building unity. When he addresses the student body like the lead character from the movie Stand and Deliver, is that building unity? When he enacts rules that were designed to curb hallway violence, is that unity? (And on a side note, I did not realize BHS was a combat zone???)

    You are so right that the faculty is divided, but that division exists between those who truely love and defend Bolton, its history, reputation, and traditions and those who simply see it as a stepping stone along the political path called career advancement or at worse a means to some warped since of personal power?

    Which teacher would you choose to stand alongside? Which principal would you choose as your leader.

    In closing, I am reminded of a picture from the Town Talk during the last Chalk Fest of Toney’s tenure. The student drew a quarter but replaced the lower inscription with “In PST We Trust!”

    Do you feel Higgins deserves the same recognition? Has he earned the faulty’s respect. Has he earned your respect?

  203. about the whole gunpoint incident. i have been a student a Bolton High for over one and half years ,and i am currently a junior. I did not attend Bolton while Ms. Toney was there but i have heard that she was amazing. Never once in my career at BHS have i ever felt threatened by a student, teacher, or outsider. Regardless of where the school is located it is still a good school. Back to the issue of Ms. Toney and Bill higgins. Mr. Higgins is quite a different principal then Ms. Toney was or so i’ve heard. Higgins can be over the top and disciplined but he can also be interactive with the students. I’ve also heard from the basketball players that he knows defense very well. But that is besides the point, Higgins made good and bad decisions this year teaching wise. He hired good and bad teachers, but not all bad but they were just not qualified to teach the subject to which they were hired (the english dept.). He hired a very good history teacher and a very good math teacher. All in all, Bolton is still a great opportunity for many students, and i just believe that we need to put the word out on Bolton. And the sports program is on a rise. The guy who said that the athletic program is horrible is dead wrong. The football team almost beat Peabody and who is gonna beat PHS this year. BHS is better then almost anyone in its district other then maybe Marksville. AND final thing. after transfering to Bolton my ACT score jumped from a 27 to a 31. There you go.

  204. I honestly cannot believe that us students are actually happy and like bolton yet the parents and teachers are the ones who are pissed off. This is appauling that students have more class then the adults. who is supposed to be the role model. Right now you are letting 16 year olds seem smarter and more mature then 30 and 40 yr olds. Embarassing!

  205. When I saw that Lamar had posted a thread about Bolton, I was curious about what would be said and why. There was a time when I desperately wanted a spirited forum about our school and how to save it, but my efforts fell short.

    The superintendent was supportive of John Sams who saw me as the problem, and although I detailed “my side” in a registered letter to the superintendent, I doubt that he ever read it. He certainly never acknowledged a single point I made. The alumni association was formed too late to save my job and unknown to them, too late to save any semblance of the Bolton we all loved. All the years and time we spent growing a learning community were discounted and the volunteers who had led so many of the programs were summarily labeled as “my clique.” No mention was made of the fact that every leadership meeting was open to whoever wanted to attend and that we were about progress, not power.

    It is not hard to see that Bolton is involved in a mighty power struggle, one that has turned colleague against colleague. Those left there working for progress will be drowned out by those who are about power.

    It was apparently not enough to get rid of me. Those powers loose around and in the school have not stopped there. They have worked over the last year to have me reassigned to the most impossible situation. Failing that, they had me removed from summer school because John Sams did not like my bumper sticker. God knows what he will create for me when he loses the mayor’s position.

    I know, and can present witnesses, of several times John Sams has implied that not only am I gay, but that I maintain such a relationship with first one colleague and then another. He even shared this lie with the superintendent. He is always careful to phrase it as a question—Is it true that PT has a long standing relationship with ______? Did you know that Ms. Toney and ________ are together? It is done with intonation, with malice, and with glee and then it spreads. And there are several of his minions craving power who follow his lead and who will do whatever to shine in his eyes. I know all that and have depended upon the good people who know me to read between the lines. But even those people–do they know me well enough to know what goes on in my private life?

    Well, here it is. I am divorced. After my divorce, for some years, I lived alone until I moved in with my parents, my father being in poor health. I remained with mother after Dad’s death, and she and I live together. I am not in a relationship of the sort for which John Sams so wants to credit me. I do have friends, both male and female. I like and love many of them.

    In reading this blog, I am so reminded of my association with John Sams. Much of what is on this blog is the exact way he speaks of others. No matter how good a person might be, John is always able to say something hurtful and negative in the hope of having a lasting and damaging effect. I do agree with the blogger who says, “woe be to his enemies when he loses the election.” The hatred he had for the Bolton grads that created the Rapides Foundation, the hatred he had for Ron, and then me, he has enlarged to encompass the school. Forced by the alumni to clean the outside, he redoubled his efforts to rot the school from within. You have only to read this blog to see and feel his success.

    With human respect to those who are, I submit to you that I am not gay and am not in a “special” such relationship with anyone. I consider this just another hostile lie to hurt me. It was not enough for John to have the superintendent remove me as principal, or to have him interfere with my new job several times this year already. Now, he wants to make life so hard for my friends that he can make me and them lepers in our community.

    Lamar, before John Sams came along, Bolton was a great school. Now you can see what his association can do. No wonder so many say, “Anyone but Sams.”

    I hope that Bolton can regain its footing and become a school of academic excellence where students can enjoy successful football. Even during my tenure, we did exceedingly well in swimming, soccer, tennis, and other sports, but never in football. I hope that learning can once again be the focus in a school where people are treated with respect and with rights, where fear does not rule the day and where people are not afraid to express their real feelings. A risk-free environment must exist for people to try new methods and change education to meet each child’s needs. We cannot stay tied with Thailand. We need to be competitive with the world, a position we are swiftly losing. We need to maintain our democracy, something else of which I fear the loss. I wish Bolton the best.

    I am proud to work for Mr. Allen Bozeman, Director of Secondary Education. We work daily with 100% positive effort to make a difference, to help teachers in every way we can. My Bolton days are over. I am focused on this day and the future. I ask that all bloggers stop the recriminations and look for solutions to the problems that face a once great school. Whatever happens to Bolton, the education of Rapides Parish students must be the primary focus of all of our efforts.

    After graduating from Bolton, teaching there for 28 years, serving as curriculum coordinator for three years, and being principal for nearly five years, I am steeped in Bolton philosophy. I carry that with me. This is the one time you will read me on this blog because I will not let John’s sort of trash talk stand with strangers for who I am. I will go forth to the polls, with honor and with pride, and I will do my all to elect a man with optimism, youth, courage, and a positive plan for our city to lead us forward. The cure for corruption we most need is a moving van pulling away from Sam’s residence for good.

    Penny Toney
    Bolton Class of 1967

  206. Here is my observation. People on here are past alumn. or current teachers or past teachers. Just to clue you in. almost all the student body is happy. we take pride in BHS. Show Class ex-bolton people. GO FORTH WITH HONOR AND WITH FAME! duh. but we all know bolton could be better, but it also could be worse. its like any other high school, people wont like certain things but you learn to deal with them. But bolton is a great school and i hate to see it being butchered by people. bottom line bolton is still good but things change

  207. I’m ashamed to be a junior. Who would of thought that my peers would have sank to the level of our elders. Also that the adults would throw insults around like they do makes me wonder if Alexandria is a respecable city. Only problems I see is the slow disapperance of classes and teachers, some of which were promised when I came to school and which soon vanished i.e. Latin and Forensic science. We also suck at football, but thats besides the point. I’m just a ignorant kid though.

  208. IT seems our junior class really cares. I can be proud to say 08! and the football team will be good come district time (vigilance). Plz parents i am appreciate ur concern but how do you think this is making our school look?

  209. Mrs Toney, That was a moving, heartfelt and disconcerting testimony. Thank you.

    To all Bolton Graduates. Join the Alumni Association. Fight for this school, fight for the current and future students, fight for Alexandria. We can do it. Get up out of your chair right now and do something.

  210. Ms Toney, that was an amazing testimony and I am glad that not all of the adults have sunken to the level of childish insults. I started at Bolton the year Higgins did, and the upperclassmen tell me that you did a much better job. I never met you personally, but I would like to sincerely thank you for sticking up for the school, not the childish adults (such an oxymoron) that are playing the insult game.

  211. i’ve just spent the past 3 hours of my life reading this. as a student, i must say that i am ashamed that my teachers speak so frankly about such private matters. have they honestly resorted to such awful and degrading methods of communication?

    i must say that i adore ms martinez as a teacher and as a person. she is congenial and willing to help as often as she can- that’s what teachers should be like.

    as a student, i also hold admiration for other teachers such as jonathan stokes, melissa monroe, erin melton, melba lacaze, barry lee, tracie campbell, and yes ms rita mathews. each of these teachers has shown me the importance of education. more importantly, each of these people have propelled me to pursue a career in education.

    bolton is a beautiful place-sure athletics aren’t all that wonderful and do you really think that other schools are perfect? we really learn here. those people up there are why. they don’t just teach us, they mold us.

    take lessons from ms toney-i respect her for her post. adults..TAKE THE EXAMPLE

    -17 year old female concerned with overbearing political scheming-

    c/o 2007

  212. Ms. Toney, if I would have known you were coming, I would have revised! My haste in writing is going to be my eternal shame.

    I just wanted to mention that one point of your response resonated with me: your regret at not being able to establish an open forum. I am certainly not criticizing anyone who posts anonymously–I understand why many of you cannot sign your names. The friend who alerted me to this post cannot sign his own name because he is related to a faculty member at Bolton and they are both afraid of retribution. That kind of thing sounds like it belongs in a Tom Cruise movie–but sadly, in that district, in Alexandria, it is a harsh reality. Though I do not post my own political thoughts (largely because I am undecided, and also am pretty awful at spelling and like…finishing sentences), I look forward to the day that we can all speak openly without fear of recrimination. For now, I applaud those who are willing to do so.

    I am very excited to see this level of dialogue–especially coming from students. What cheapens it for me, however, is knowing that for many of the adults, very little of this is about Bolton High School. It’s about a mayoral race. I’m afraid that, more likely than not, many of the people who have written here will stop caring once their candidate wins or loses. I hope this isn’t true.

    And Ms. Toney, for what it’s worth, you were excellent…

    …and your picture in the ’67 yearbook is smokin’.


  213. To Ms. Toney,

    Thank you for your insightful and passionate entry on your experience. It should be required reading for anyone who reads this blog.

    Dear Students,

    Did someone give you, particularly those in the Class of 2008, an assignment to “defend” Bolton on my blog?

    It’s wonderful to have pride in your school, but as students, you are far removed from the decision-making process that determines your education.

    This conversation is about that process. It’s about the decisions that have occured during the past decade, when you were all in elementary school, and how those decisions affect your current education.

    Many people are angry about those decisions, and sometimes, particularly when that anger is the result of a personal injustice, people tend to be confrontational.

    I hope that you students will really take the time to read exactly what has been written about your fine school. I hope that you will speak with people, like your older siblings, who remember when, just five years ago, Bolton had truly competitive sports teams as well as one of top ten academic programs in the state. (And yes, even their football team was competitive).

    A political decision was made, and Bolton lost nearly half of its student body. In doing so, Bolton also lost a significant amount of its resources. A school’s funding is based, in part, on the number of students it has, and when Bolton lost students, it also lost money. (And when it lost money, it also lost teachers). On top of that, another political decision was made to remove Bolton’s principal. This decision had obviously nothing to do with Bolton’s academic or athletic performance, and Bolton’s former principal and her colleagues found themselves in a political battle for their reputations and their jobs.

    Yes, your eyes are being opened to the ways your teachers speak behind closed doors (or under the guise of anonymity). I’m not sure why you’re so surprised.

    It’s great, by the way, that Bolton still sends a handful of students to top tier schools every year. So does ASH. (And I’m not stating this to instigate anything, but former ASH students include four recent graduates of Rice, two graduates of Yale, as well as graduates of Duke, Vanderbilt, Emory, and Harvard. I guess my point is: A school’s success is not measured by who gets into what school. They may make for nice recruitment tools. “Bolton grads include a recent Princeton student.” But a school’s performance is measured in averages).

    Again, this isn’t about Bolton pride. The people who are passionate about the problems facing Bolton are only expressing their opinions BECAUSE they have Bolton pride. Really, Class of 2008, think about it.

  214. I don’t think ms. sanders gave her students an assignment. she is the journalism teacher,but maybe they were encouraged to voice an opinion. i hear they were looking at it in her class today. i heard it from a friend in one of my classes, but no assignment was mentioned.

    it did make me want to check it out. this is much more interesting that B TV

  215. That comment about being little children is an insult to Bolton Students everywhere. Feeling passionate enough about our school to stay up and talk about it does not make us little children. The only ones who seem like little children are those who post slanderous remarks about the students and faculty of Bolton. So much for Bolton’s fine, unblemished name…

  216. Mr. Lamar you say that people write in this blog about politics and stuff and other things when we were in elementary school…but this isnt wat this blog is supposed to be about. its more about older people hating on bolton. CLASS OF 08~

  217. Exactly we are not little children. You are quite ignorant for putting that remark. instead you should be congratulating us for defending our great school even if you care. If you really cared you would be happy that we as high school students wanted to defend our amazing school. And mr. lamar ? this blog has most definetly went away from your inital intentions…. for the rest of you reading this. bolton is still great regardless of it being in a bad neighborhood doesnt matter

    wat does matter is that now this is the topic of discussion in our school now and we must deal with our ex-teacher slamming our current administration. and i quite frankly dont want to hear about this come tomorrow morning. but it will be top discussion…thanks mr. lamar.

  218. sorry i didnt mean to bash mr. lamar but it is others faults from straying from the inital things we are supposed to discuss in this blog.

  219. No, my students were not given an assignment dealing with this blog. Today in class we discussed the First Amendment – (Happy Constitution Day!) – and about how the right of free speech carries some responsibility for the speaker. We did not discuss this site at all in those classes.

  220. I agree with vigilance in the fact that many peers have stooped down to the level of blatant name calling as several adults have done. However, I feel inclined to state several things. Number one, Ms Toney and Mr Higgins are both good principals each in their own way. I am currently enrolled in Bolton High School. My sophomore year was Ms. Toney’s last year as principal. From my observations, her main focus was academics, which is not at all a bad thing, but that much focus did cause a slip in our atheltic department. Her determination raised Bolton’s ACT scores to the 7th hightest in the state and hightest in the Parish. Our SPS scores were the highest as well. Once she left, students and some teachers became skeptical of the replacement teacher wondering if he would do as well or a better job than Ms. Toney did. Some were doubtful because he came from a low performing school. Mr. Higgins has done an a good job since his tenure but has had to face difficulties along the way. Bolton did face the 200 pupil influx last year as a result of the Hurricance but Bolton presevered through it. With Mr. Higgins help, the basketball team did and outstanding job last year compared to the prior year where they played a winless season. The football team still struggles, but has done a slightly better job this year. Our ACT scores did fall slightly however, but still remain top in the parish, and high in the state. Our SPS scores did fall, but only because of our attendance record, not because of our test scores. Bolton still had the hightest percentage of advanced and mastery scores on the LEAP/GEE than any other school in the parish.
    Number 2, many accuse Ms Monroe of grading males harder than she does females. I thought for awhile that this was true, but then I realized I was incorrect. My freshman year I received a C in her class. I was determined to make an A in her AP Lang/Comp class. Although I failed to do so, I did pass with a B, one of the few males that did from that year, but only because I worked my tale off to earn that grade. My neighbor had Ms Monroe and he was one of five valedictorians last year. Although I wrote some harsh things about her last year, her class is a challenge, no doubt, but who would have evidence to substantiate that ms Monroe does in fact grade males harder? No one I’d assume. She is a teacher and part of Bolton’s great legacy.
    Third and last, why is Bolton’s zone the way it is. I believe a certain someone redrew the zone the way it currently is on purpose. A look at the current map would show that Bolton has most of the Garden District and that PINEVILLE has a small portion of the the garden dist. Pineville High should have no part of Alexandria in it’s zoning. And, no offense to garden dist. residents, but many of its residents are elderly and don’t have any children. What happened to the woodworth students bolton used to receive? The steep drop in enrollement was due to the rezoning. This is probably why the sports program began to slip, because 400 students were suddenly shifted to a different school.
    The truth is, Bolton deserves much more credit than it receives. The school board should have never invested so much money into Peabody. I visited PMHS when it was first built and recently during the summer. The facilities have gone from stellar, high class, to one of less than stellar condition. It seems as though the students at this school do not know how to treat the millions of dollars invested into the school. It’s a shame to see a low performing school receiving top notch supplies and technology, while a high performing school, ie Bolton, was lucky to get its facade sandblasted. Millions of dollars has been wasted to get white students to go to Peabody, and to no suprise, it has failed. Bolton has been on Vance ave. for 80 years now and has served this commmunity years before that. It is time people put petty talk aside, stop accusing Ms Toney/Higgins and start realizing that Bolton is the gem of the Rapides Parish High Schools. Let’s invest more time and money into Bolton high school, it’s truly a wonderful school. This is my senior year and I hope all will be resolved in the future.

  221. In response to Lamar, and I mean this in the most respect possible… No assignment is needed or will ever be needed for Bolton High School Student to defend something they are passionate about. Bolton High School- many of us spend more time in these halls and classrooms than we do our own bedrooms. THIS ENTIRE BLOG IS ABOUT BOLTON PRIDE THAT IS WHERE YOU ARE WRONG!
    I am appalled that you would speak down to me or any other HUMAN BEING! You have opened the floodgates for discussion and this is what you are getting? OR were your intentions to get the students/falculty to turn against the school? Who knows? I just ask you give everyone the same amount of respect…
    you did ask for it.

  222. i agree with t-howard. u talked down to us students like we dont even matter. i stay at bolton until 6 sometimes 7 everyday and ur telling me i dont have a right to voice my opinon. you are dead wrong!

  223. Guys, be chill. Go listen to some Frou Frou with cool kid from 9:38 and chill. No one is talking down to you–we appreciate that you are here.

  224. I am a teacher at Bolton, and since Mr. Higgins stepped foot on our campus, I have never heard a single student say a complimentary thing about him. So, I’d love to know where these kids are coming from that label themselves as class of 2008. I’m truly baffled.

    I’d like to say something to all Bolton students. Most of you have no idea of the horrible things that many of your teachers have gone through in the past three or so years. To watch someone like Ms. Toney, with an impeccable resume and a spotless record, be viscously removed from the school she’d been a part of for most of her life was in a word, demoralizing. It has broken our spirit and made many of us question our choice to be educators. I’m talking about some good teachers – really good teachers – that are considering changing professions because they feel that in a system like ours good can never prevail over malevolence. That is a crying shame. A person can only get kicked in the teeth so many times before they have to throw in the towel.

    Think about how it might have felt for your favorite teacher to arrive at school to meet the new principal and be told by him that he had the power to transfer them any time he wished. Imagine how you would feel if your livelyhood (and passion)were threatened by such bullying.

    I submit that the terrible things you have read in this blog, while disturbing, are an indication of how much these educators care about you and your future. Because ultimately, it’s those teachers that feel so passionately about what they do that inspire you to learn, grow, and prosper. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to have a teacher that wasn’t an over the top fanatic about what he/she did for a living.

    Teachers do not get into teaching because of the money. We all know that. But while we do not gain financially, we do profit spiritually and emotionally from our personal relationships with our students. As far as I’m concerned, there should be no other reason to teach.

    Ms. Toney, as always, your words are eloquant and candid. All who truly know you will support your every endeavor until the day we die. I didn’t always agree with you when you were the principal, but I always knew that you had the greater good – the students’ future – in mind. I admire you more than you will ever know.

    Lamar, again I thank you for not only starting this thread, but also for the wise things you’ve had to say. It means a lot coming from a neutral party.

  225. Thanks Ben. Not sure what they read in between the lines there. But I certainly welcome students to post here. Absolutely.

    I think one of the students misunderstood me when I wrote that this wasn’t about Bolton pride. I meant that Bolton pride is IMPLICIT in this discussion, and while it’s great that you guys are all proud of your school, the issue isn’t about Bolton pride; it’s about Bolton’s future.

    To the teacher who just wrote in,

    Thank you for recognizing that I am, in fact, a neutral party in this discussion, and the only reason I decided to post the topic is because I care about Bolton. (For the purposes of full disclosure, my grandmother was the debate coach and a history teacher at Bolton for many years, and my grandfather was on the School Board).

  226. Lamar i respect ur entry, but to the teacher (how is that supposed to make us students feel. to know our teachers are being talked down to…do u want us to hate the entire adminstration. i love almost all the teachers, but is ur entry supposed to help me. i’m hearing all these things about past events and well they are demoralizing to our school and future. what do u expect us students to say? u want us to throw in the towel? and i am truely sorry for the way mr.bill spoke to yall. that is truely sad. but what would u like us students to do?) -this time anonomus

  227. i totally agree with ducky… anonymous1030… u need to lighten up. at least she spoke her mind. can u say that u did? u just talked down to our president of our Student Council. we’re supposed to respect her u idiot! and if u actually read her earlier post it made sense

  228. The teacher from 1022. how are we supposed to ever talk to him outside of school. he treats us like dogs? to him we’re just a number.

  229. To anonymous 10:32 –

    I want you to realize that the anger that some teachers feel is legitimate, and not just ranting because we missed our little nap.

    It has nothing to do with the way someone was spoken to by Mr. Higgins. It has to do with the fact that he basically said, “Just in case you didn’t already know, your job is in my hands and I’ll do with it as I please.” I don’t care for people who rule by intimidation. I think it’s a sign of weakness.

  230. SPS scores are down because of attendance you say, could that be beacuase of taking saturday detention for being 1 minute late for school students just took off the whole day and got a docotr’s note??

    why do you think channel 1 was moved to the end of first hour?? nancy. she wanted us to miss something if we were 1 minute late to school. she cares about students, or so i hear. i know better than to take her class.

  231. he proved he can have any of the teachers transfered at anytime, look what happened to ms. self. i bet more are gone at midterm. why do you think there are so so many new teachers this year??

  232. I wish I knew, anon 10:43. I’m at a loss myself.

    All I can tell you is that if you are unhappy with things, you should encourage your parents to contact the school board office.

  233. students can’t do anything about mr. higgins.

    how do we help our school grow, oh wise grown up people??

    what can we do, but CRY!!!

  234. Believe me when I saw the following that I am not trying to put you down or belittle you guys.

    I think when you ask, “How are we supposed to feel about this?” there is no good answer. The best answer is that you shouldn’t have to feel anything. You shouldn’t have to be distracted from the very serious business of trying to survive high school by the antics of a handful of grown-ups who can’t get their acts together.

    I think the fact that more of you will be talking about this blog tomorrow morning than will be talking about history tests and football games underscores the point I was trying to make earlier.

    You have every right to know what’s going on at your school. You really, really do. You should not, however, be subjected to the turmoil caused by the ugly personal agendas of a couple of nutsucks who have let their quests for “power” affect your learning environment. What sucks most is that while we will just read about it, you guys will actually have to live it until the problems are fixed. For that I am truly sorry.

  235. To sit here and not say something would be almost like death.

    First, I would like to close the can of worms opened with Lamar’s post. Bolton students have nothing to prove to you or to any one else in this community. EVERYTHING (atleast in my mind) IS CLEARLY EVIDENT. Put the ACT scores and the football team aside…when I can walk through the halls and see every person of every race associating, and when a student who came to America his sophomore year can adapt and become a ranking memeber in many of the most prestigious clubs on campus, it shows me that I am in the right place. We can play the word game long into the night about what you meant and didnt mean, but its not needed. Bolton has been here long enough to make a mark in this community and there is no doubt in my mind that it will continue to bless this community with productive human beings.

    Now a response to the other million posts.
    Where do I start…
    ^with the higgins/toney fued…
    I had the privileage to attend school under Ms.Toney freshmen year. There was never a doubt in my mind that I could walk into her office and discuss with her my thoughts. She did an EXCELLENT job and personally I would like to thank you Ms.Toney for everything you did. Now to Mr.Higgins: I am sorry but I find it EXTREMELY complicated to find Mr.Higgins at fault for much of this corruption.I am persauded that a great deal of this can be traced outside of Bolton..but everyone at Bolton now, teachers/students, in a sense each one of us are at fault. Assuming that change is bad. Simply because a great principal was leaving the majority of us assumed a great one was not coming. Blame me, but as a student Mr.Higgins has been everything a principal needs to be. As an officer in many clubs it is evident to me, that his door is always open. Throw out the fact that he is a principal first, but how many adults would agree to “perform” in front of 600 students in an assembly? Don’t be hypocritical…as bears we hold high- the fact that we can interact with everyone and include everyone. When you set your mind aginst something/somone before actions have taken place, what are you doing to yourself?

    ^Ms.Self, what a loss! You are an amazing educator as well as person. As a lost freshmen you made my life at Bolton so much easier, and I was really looking forward to English 4 AP! I hope you continue to spread your knowledge to my generation. Thank You! It is a shame that you were one of the many victims, of the corruption created by the doc.

    ^Ms.Monroe; I can not testify to past events that involve Ms.Monroe,but can tell about my personal experiences. First,all rumor about her “running the school” or “taking over” must stop here. The jokes and everything are fine until you post it on a blog that has received so much attention. I have never heard a complaint from a student that has applied themselves 100% in her classes. SHE CARES. If you preceive sponsoring, stage crew, ACLU, NHS, the spring play, on top of teaching classes and a college course at LSUA as taking over,I pitty you. From a student that works with teachers everyday, it is evident to me now more than ever that caring should be the only qualification.You may not agree with some of her assignments, im definately not saying I do, but give her the respect she deserves.

    ***To the other students at Bolton…I urge each one of you to form your own opinions(agree with me or not) from your experinces, don’t form it on what you hear or ESPICALLY NOT what you read on this page. In the words of Gandi “But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
    Lamar, thank you for allowing me to demonstrate my BEAR PRIDE in yet another way.

  236. I must commend the teachers who have appeared in this conversation. Instead of keeping quiet you’ve at least defended your beliefs and used non-vapid rhetoric to do so. This reminds me of why I value my Bolton education, which is something I didn’t do while I was in high school.
    I’m going to go on record and defend Nancy Monroe. While individual opinions may vary, I honestly believe I gained a very
    valuable education in her classroom. Much of the same praise can be directed at Sanders and Self. Monroe’s classes are
    hard and you do memorize vocabulary and quotes. Is there any harm in this? Nope. These are foundations of a good education and are vital to the intellectual development of students. I’m sure ‘word walls’ or cooperative learning are more fun and tres chic, but these skills come in handy in the real world.

    I also feel the need to defend Charlene Johnson in this space. Many may find her divisive, cruel and cruel. I never found that to be the case since she always came off as an excellent teacher who cared about her students and harbored a love for her subject areas. I never saw an ounce of spite in her when it came to the students.

    Also, in reference to Ms. Sanders’ post earlier in the thread, I must say you are correct in your assertation that students complain when they are held to a higher standard. From my experience in the classroom students resist being held accountable for their intellectual production. This is too true in this modern age where everyone expects an A for just attending the class. You’ve done a great job teaching both English and Journalism at Bolton and expected us to produce more than slight effort. I learned a great deal working on the Cumtux and have kept many of those lessons with me to this day. Especially that one about never cussing out the Editor.

    To the current Bolton students: Keep up the work and fight for what you believe in. Don’t mimic the ideals that are believed to be right; rather, you must change and shape the world you live in. Now is your time to work proactively to build something special and to tear the bonds of tyranny and hegemony from your lives. As The Clash once sang on their track “Guns of Brixton”: When they kick down your front door/ How you gonna come?/ With your hands on your head/ or the trigger of your gun?

    Do you want politics and petty feuds to be the direction of your education? Or will you fight for something meaningful that strengthens your future? You may believe you are involved in your academic progress, but Lamar has a point when he says you are far removed. There are still venues where you can take your complaints and beliefs; however, you must present them in more cogent terms than you’ve expressed so far.

    /Class of 1999

  237. Yes Geoff,

    Thanks for your contribution. It’s become somewhat difficult for me to know how to respond to the students who post, because while I appreciate and understand their enthusiasm and passion for their school, I also REALLY want them to know that there is life after high school, a greater community and national reality, and that while unwavering school pride may sustain and embolden them right now, it’s important for them to understand that most of the people who are speaking critically of Bolton care very deeply about the future of the school– and this is NOT, in any way, a criticism of its students. In other words, I know it may be difficult, but students need to recognize that no one is attacking them. Honestly.

  238. I strongly agree with what Mr. Hayward said.
    First i think Mr. Higgins has done a great job at Bolton considering when he came, most students did not like him.
    I do miss Ms. Toney, she was a great principal and did alot of things to help Bolton High School.
    i would really like to say that i think it is unfair what Dr. John Sams did to Ms. Toney by making her leave her job as the principal of the summer school program at Bolton this year. It was not right at all, and very unfair.
    For the teachers at Bolton, i thank you for still giving me the education i need to suceed in order to be successful in college and for the rest of my life. So far in my junior year, i have had some questions to ask..
    Why are teachers teaching AP when they are not certified?
    Why did new teachers take previous teachers courses?
    i do not understand..but these are questions that need to be answered.
    When I found out that Ms.Kelly Self was not going to be teaching at Bolton, i was upset. I had Ms. Self as a freshman for English 1 and i was expecting to have her for English 4. She was a wonderful teacher at Bolton,and i hope her new job at Alexandria Senior High School is going well, you are missed Ms. Self!
    Everyone can say things about our sports and how we don’t win every game..but what these people are over looking are our test scores and ACT scores…we STILL have the highest ACT scores in the parish..thanks to our teachers.
    Bolton is a wonderful school, and to me, has the best teachers and staff. So anyone who talks bad about this school..should look at all the grades and where these young adults went to college and scores, because that is what is important.

  239. I must ask, of all the dirty laundry in Alexandria, why must Bolton be so important? How come no one has anything to say about the Ron Akins situation? He was envolved in something actually wrong. Remember that money embezzlement thing with the secretary? Wow, no one really cares about that, Hey let’s see if John Sams has anything to say about that. Oh crap, I forgot, He and Ron were able to play nice on the playground with the rest of you kids/adults. To be honest, I don’t know how the better part of you sleep at night.

    Most of these people (teachers) wake up every morining at the crack of dawn for YOUR kids. These people spend all day teaching/helping YOUR kids. I thought we left the playground drama at elementary school. These Bolton students posting here sure have, why can’t you, thier parents? Ten years from now, they will all be in college or wherever else you drive them to go; and all you will have to look back on is this blog where you trashed honest hardworking people.

    No one is perfect. They all eat, breath and sleep, just like you. At the end of the day, how many kids/teens did you teach? How many lives did you have a possible life long impact upon? How much does your heart bleed for kids who can’t eat, won’t sleep, get hit, battle a drug addiction, are having a baby and won’t talk to anyone, but maybe you. And what do you get paid?

    Concerned Alumnus
    class of ’03

  240. I am a Botlon High School student, and I am by no means a star pupil at Bolton, and I do not particularly care for some teachers, but j.k. 08 has a notable point this blog has turned into a column for some teachers, parents, and so-called concerned citizens to voice their opinions about personal vendetta’s with each other and within Bolton. It has also turned into a hate column for Miss Toney and John Sams. Least I forget Princpal Higgins. I do not personally care for Dr. Sams, but he is a school board memeber, and discussing his faults will not help the current situation. Before I came to Bolton I was enrolled in Catholic School, and my parents begged me to go Bolton because of the high empahsis on education, honor, respect, and concern for fellow man. This column does nothing but post the problems within Bolton for everyone in parish to make a mockary of. I can honestly say that Bolton has helped my intelect grow through empahsis on self exploration and enhancement. I hope that other students feel the same, and I pray that Bolton will maintain it’s fine unblemished name despite all the negative aspects of the school being posted on the internet. Furthermore, I am disgusted that some commenters have nothing better do than bad mouth facuilty members, school board members, the current princpal, and the former princpal through an internet blog…

    P.S. Please grow up!
    Senior 07

  241. No one wants to call out a student, so allow me. Senior 07, if you care about your school, you would understand that Lamar’s doing a great service by providing people— a lot of people– with a place to express their opinion. You may not like what some people have to say, but because of Lamar’s efforts, we’ve heard from Ms. Self, Ms. Toney and other educators– and now we all know the real story.

    One day you may understand why this is revolutionary. It sucks that it has to happen while you’re one of 600 students there…..but if you care, you’d respect Lamar’s blog.

  242. Alright, this has gone a bit far. Let’s get back to the subject.

    We can’t ignore the fact that there are only 600 and some odd students currently attending Bolton; and if attendance is as “wonderful” as it was in 03’ when I graduated, then that means that probably only 3 quarters of that population show up each day.

    Current students: You ask, “What can I do. . .just sit here and cry.” NO! Get off your lazy ass and do what the educators of Bolton in my day told me to do: SPEAK UP! By you’re remarkable response to this blog, you’re doing something and you know what. . .we hear you. One of the best educational experiences for me was discovering “due process”. I learned how petitions work, and I learned that school board meetings were open to the public. When they weren’t open, we raised hell and we were heard. To be honest, we didn’t accomplish much, but a couple of extra free dress days a year was well worth our efforts.

    I left a reasonably well-known private school for the education Bolton had to offer and I was not disappointed. I took Ms. Monroe’s English and I loved every minute of it. The people who didn’t like it are the ones who couldn’t cut it in her class. Ms. Toney was always working hard for the student who worked hard for her. I know of her efforts in helping other students: getting students into college, helping students fill out applications for jobs, helping students obtain scholarships and recommendations letters, etc.

    Maybe I’m a bit biased in my opinions, considering I only went there for 2 years (my junior and senior years), but Bolton played a big part in my education. I finally realized that when I went to college and I was the only kid in my class that could write an essay with no coaching. (And ya don’t just write essays in English)

    One day I might decide to settle in good ole A-town, and I might decide to send my children to the same great school I graduated from, my mother graduated from, and my grandparents graduated from. It would be a sad sight for my child’s first day to be a routine mugging.

    My point is this: Let’s get to bottom of this and fix it. Whether it be zoning, the administration or whatever. Something is obviously wrong. This is not the Bolton I know.

  243. In your world announcing negative attributes is a bad thing? How does progress occur if we do not highlight the problems that run rampant in the system praytell? Welcome to the real world where these things are said aloud and often people are made a mockery of whether they deserve it or not. Or have we forgotten lessons learned from past political campaigns and debates where unfettered rumors abounded without constraint or fact checking.

    If we do not identify problems, real or imagined, then we are not going to advance the cause of saving Bolton. I’m sorry that Penny Tonney, Nancy Monroe, et al. were dragged through the mud, but some of those involved defended themselves and quite well in fact. The problem still remains of pinpointing the problems and solving the issues that have arisen or may arise.

    Much like Festivus, we must have an airing of grievances. This is vital to the process of change and even more vital to producing knowledge that may help to turn the tide. Life is harsh and people take criticism every day. They can either renounce it, accept it, or shrug it off. We’ve seen some major players in this tale renounce the events as posed by others. Now is the time to work towards a better Bolton and to destroy the political holds others have placed on the parish. At this point, defending Bolton is moot. We’ve discussed this at length without any real recourse. On the other hand, we can seek justice and pursue a better reality for the future students and especially for the future faculty.

    I’m quite frankly tired of the bullshit going on in this area. You, the current students, can stop seeing this as an attack on you. Instead, see this as a reminder of how things will work when you are out of college and inside the workplace. If you work on a campaign or even pay attention to politics at all, you’d notice this is an every day occurance. It’s part of the territory, if you will.

    Here’s the deal: This parish is horrible in terms of academic overall. Our School Board does little to actually facilitate learning. Instead, board members act as vassals that carve their territory out and sit awaiting their yearly tribute. This is a political game and less of an intellectual pursuit. We must eliminate the problem before it grows even more sinister. You don’t allow cancerous cells to continue to grow unabated.

    To conclude, we are putting Bolton under the lens in order to diagnose a problem that is plaguing our area. It just happens to be the best example when it comes to political in-fighting and detrious development. This isn’t just the bad mouthing of a school nor is a place for teachers to vent their frustrations. This is a parish wide problem and it needs to be solved. This is just a minor step to the recclaimation of education from the hands of overlords. The dirty laundry needs to be put out for all to see. If withheld, then we all are kept in the dark.

  244. i just read this entire freaking post, and as a recent bolton graduate, i want to make a few comments.

    i know lamar. we’re friends. i don’t think anyone who knows lamar would consider him an enemy. i mean, he can be a little wordy, but he still wants what is best for alexandria. there aren’t many people who graduate from rice and would consider moving back to alexandria after having job offers in washington dc, los angeles, and new york city. sorry lamar for giving away personal shit. it just pisses me off when these kids call you ash trash and say that you’re just trying to get people to talk bad about bolton.

    i went to bolton, okay? something’s wrong, kids. keep having your bolton pride. it’s cute. not to be condescending. it just doesn’t mean anything when your school’s being drained of money, teachers, and resources— and all you kids know how to do is say “bolton’s awesome and the new principal may be different but change is good and life is great and our gifted kids are still gifted.” it’s like you’re not even paying attention. and when a teacher posts something critical, you blame the teacher. it’s funny to say this to a bunch of teenagers, but GROW UP. we’re all human beings. we all get stupid and angry and say dumb things, but the fact that this is the most popular topic lamar has ever posted on his blog should tell you that the school you love so dearly is not well. so if you want to help your school, listen to what your elders are saying about bolton. and then, speak out.

    sorry about the class of 2007, though, it’s too late for you guys, but you can help your friends, brothers, and sisters by speaking honestly— and not in b.s. platitudes about how awesome bolton is….. when anyone who has been paying attention knows that the students may still be awesome but the school isn’t anymore. why? because, as lamar said, of political decisions.

    c’mon students, i thought you were trained to be independent thinkers. seems to me that you are all– so far– repeating the same tired mantra about how great things are……. even though you have no idea how great things COULD be.

    bolton alumn
    class of 2000

    ps: nancy monroe may be a great teacher, but NANCY NANCY NANCY, let other willing teachers take leadership roles of they want to. stop trying to do everything. it makes people mad.

    pps: lamar, thank you.

  245. I do not think that Mr. Higgins has set out to destroy Bolton. He has always been courteous to me. Rather than thinking that Mr. Higgins is sabatoging our school, I just believe that he is not qualified to lead a school such as Bolton. He has done the best that he can with what he has, but for Bolton High School, it’s just not good enough.

    How many of you seniors are happy that you have Ms. Branch and/or Ms. Monroe for Engish 4? How many of you were looking forward to having Ms. Self instead? Why don’t you ask Mr. Higgins why he transferred her, because, as was largely thought at the beginning of school, she DID NOT choose to be transferred. It was forced upon her.

  246. to anon 8:30 am
    your speaking priviledges have been revoked. next time you have a thought, let it go! to insult ms mathews is a direct assault on me and most of the other students at the school. you insulting such a wonderful mother,teacher,and person justifies my loss of faith in humanity. thanks. so you can bite my shiny metal ass. be glad you didn’t attach your name. i would get you for slander.

  247. I’m so impressed to see that this blog has turned into something more than ranting and raving. These are the voices of opinion that Alexandria is known and respected for. To all of you alumnus, (including myself) and current students, it pleases me to see the amount of Bolton pride that remains within our society. Ben Mahoney, both a classmate and friend, had wonderful things to say and a positive outlook on a negative situation.

    A change is necessary, I hate to say it, but we elected the school board members to make those decisions. Feud may be the reason Bolton has suffered, the why is no longer important.

    As others have said, the “how we are going to fix it” is the task at hand. Lamar is a very well respected and educated individual who wanted to know answers about what happened. In a round about way, it happened. I feel that we have learned a geat deal, and are now able to throw some influence at the RPSB to fix these problems.

    People, make phone calls, show up, and let them know that our opinions DO matter. Parents, students, Alumni, concerned citizens, stand up and take some action.

    I already have.

    When I read this blog, it broke my heart at first to read some of these awful accusations. I realized after a solid nights sleep, that these have helped people to voice their true opinions.

    Bolton does have problems. If it did not, this blog would not be here. There are issues with the faculty. The principle is loved and hated. John Sams created great obstacles for the school. Some faculty members need to learn their place, and others need to find theirs. Kelly Self no longer teaches there. Nancy Monroe does run several things at the school. Penny Toney is no longer the principal. The enrollment is not the same as what it was.

    To point out another factor affecting Bolton (and other schools) that to my knowledge, has not been mentioned:

    After EC Hayes closed, several classes/teachers were put in difficult situations. Special needs children require special attention, it’s true, they are still people, but it is true. People are cruel by nature, why would you put someone so vulnerable in an environment they are not fit for? Bolton has a large special education program, has anyone considered that may be one of the reasons so many children have left? Would you want to sit in a class with someone who spats out random obscenities?

    Teachers who are not specialized in dealing with these people are often times put in a situation with no aid, or any specialized supervision required. EC Hayes existed because these students NEEDED special attention from people with specialized education degrees for their development. If anything, by EC Hayes closing, we have hindered these students’ development.

    Physically handicapped and mentally handicapped are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. Two of the most brilliant people I’ve met were blind, and deaf. Big deal, they had physical handicaps, but they were not incapable of normal social interaction. I feel that clarification is necessary on that issue.

  248. This blog is completely fictional. I moved here (Bolton) from Menard, and I must say that Bolton is much more accepting and kind than Menard. The teachers are better (or at least the ones that I am taking) and I see no problem with any of the teachers that you are ranting about so passionately. Mr. Higgins cares about the students more than many principals, many of which stay in their offices all day. There have been rumors that Bolton is an extremely violent,drug-trafficking school. These rumors are completely untrue. I have not seen a single fight since I have come here, and have not even had the slightest hint of a wind of a drug seal. The student who got robbed, in case you have not heard, got robbed at night, during a football game on Bolton grounds. He was not robbed AT Bolton, but in lfornt of Bolton at night. If I can, I will post later, but at the moment, I have some Physics homework *cough, cough* that will take a little while to finish.

  249. As the parent of an eighth grader zoned for Bolton, I would like to get involved in any POSITIVE movements to improve BHS. Mahatma Gandhi said it best….”You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Any suggestions?

  250. This blog has gone from being about the decline of Bolton, to personal attacks on faculty and students. This entire blog has become a slanderous… oh wait this is published, so that would make it liable… argument full of personal assaults by mostly anonymous persons who make up rumors about people that are in some way involved with what goes on at Bolton. If you don’t know what goes on at Bolton, then go find out. If you don’t like what you find out, then get involved and make a difference. You will be much more beneficial to the school by getting involved in what ACTUALLY happens there than you would if you waste your time posting lies about people online.

  251. The Truth Hurts

    I’m a Bolton graduate. My freshman class was about the size of today’s entire student body. By the time we graduated in 1998 that same class was down to about 100. At the time, that seemed like a big problem. But lately it has become apparent that the more serious problem is faculty in-fighting and malicious endeavors by the school board.

    Teachers: Try not to be affected by all of the negativity here. You are all great people and teaching high school students can be a thankless job. And now, apparently, you can be criticized openly with little means of recourse on your part. Please don’t give up. Take courage from the positive comments, which far outweigh the negative ones.

    Current Students: That’s excellent that you have so much school spirit, and you are obviously more intelligent than many have given you credit for. Now try to think about the big picture, and imagine all those who came before you… and all those who will come after you. What improvements can be made?

    Former Students: If you are genuinely interested in helping Bolton, and by extension the entire town of Alexandria, then join the Alumni Association. Then become an active member by going to meetings and volunteering your help in whatever way you can. Or maybe ask Lamar White what you can do. He seems to know a lot.

    Everyone: This blog has opened a lot of eyes. But posting a message here doesn’t really help the situation. Keep that in mind. As you read these posts, understand that there are conversations going on at several different levels. If you don’t like what a person says, then don’t read it or react to it. Doing either puts you at that level of the conversation.

    Nancy Monroe was a difficult teacher. All my friends at the time told me to avoid her class at all costs. But I took it anyway. She required us to memorize endless quotes and vocabulary words. She did not give me A’s because I did not deserve them. But I do remember some of those words. I’ll never forget them:

    “A little learning is a dangerous thing.
    Drink deep, or taste not of the Pierian spring.
    There, shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    And drinking largely sobers us again.”
    -Alexander Pope

    Submitted by William Wiendahl Denley, Senior Class President 1998

  252. Why is there so much repetition? It’s the same peopel posting the same stuff over and over and over again. Alright we understand that we, the students, can do something about it and that this thread is a bunch of ranting, raving, and slanderous comments. Please people it’s not all as bad as it’s cracked up to be. Alot of information is biased, sure theres problems, but do we have to divide everyone over them. It’s a school, schools have problems, but we just have to learn to deal with it and change what we can. What I’m trying to say is can we get back on topic.

    By the way, any decent moderator would have locked the thread as soon as it got off topic or when the flaming and trolling started.

  253. I agree with vigilance. The original questions “what happened and what will the school board do to turn Bolton around?” has turned into vindictive comments/opinions of various Bolton teachers, principal’s, and John Sams. So is there actually anyone out there who know’s the answer to what the school board can/will do for bolton? Maybe once the de-seg order is completed (if it isn’t) then maybe Bolton’s zone can be redrawn. Honestly, if anyone has an answer I, along with many others I am sure, do, too. I am concerned of what will become of a great school in the future years. And more importantly, what can i do as a current student? I feel that something should be said, after all “actions do speak louder and words.” Time has now called for the name calling and finger-pointing to cease. I am ashamed to see adults condescend to this level of slanderous attacks. Many people have already established “what happened.” I can not reiterate enough now that the next step is to FIND A SOLUTION. For all the alumni joining the association, kudos to you, that’s one foot in the door. But the petty nagging back and forth must stop. Come on adults, some of you are setting a horrible example, which is a pity if “us children” look up to you. So now let’s brainstorm some solutions people.–like going to school board mtgs, which is what the Bolton high ACLU chapter is planned to be doing soon…

  254. We’ll maybe we should clarify the problems. I’m at a loss at what the problems really are with all the mudslinging. Crime isn’t one like most believe. Test scores are still high. Is it the loses of teachers and classes and the loss of so many students? I say we need the lines redrawn. We also need to get our classes back that make us stick out, like latin. I think it causes problems when we focus on testing all the time, it’s a rush to finish the content before Leap and the GEEs.

    Just throwing ideas out there.

  255. Vigilance,

    “Why is there so much repetition? It’s the same peopel posting the same stuff over and over and over again.”

    Why you ask? Someday you will understand, someday. There are problems bigger than all of us; problems we cannot control and most of all problems created by others with the sole intent of causing harm to others simply to prove a point. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” In this political arena you may drown in that grease if you are not careful. This blog has provided the faculty, students, alumni, and friends of Bolton a unique outlet for their true feelings while at the same time protecting from the forces of political evil amongst us. Its not the same few people over and over. This dilema has affected the masses that make up BHS and the masses have spoken.

    “Alright we understand that we, the students, can do something about it and that this thread is a bunch of ranting, raving, and slanderous comments.”

    Is it really? Are you saying that Ms. Toney and Ms. Self are liars? I have been part of the Bolton community for the last 10 years; for 8 of those years I watched in amazement at what Akins and Toney did. I cannot say the same for the last 2. I’ve stood by powerless as the faculty was sytematically disected, divided, and ultimately turned against itself. Ms. Toney fell victim to the forces of political evil and continues to suffer even though she is no longer part of the Bolton community. Ditto for Ms Self. Do I say these things because I “heard” it, “suspect” it, or read it; no, I say these things because I lived them. I am an eyewitness. That’s pretty irrefutable evidence. What are the basis for your conclusions?

    “Please people it’s not all as bad as it’s cracked up to be. Alot of information is biased, sure theres problems, but do we have to divide everyone over them. It’s a school, schools have problems, but we just have to learn to deal with it and change what we can. What I’m trying to say is can we get back on topic.”

    We are not off topic. The truth hurts and often is not pretty. The problems often hideous and monumental. You have to start somewhere; I’m sorry if our comments and methodology are not to your liking. We’ll try to do better next time.

    “By the way, any decent moderator would have locked the thread as soon as it got off topic or when the flaming and trolling started.”

    You obviously have not been following Lamar’s blogs over the last several months. If you had, you would know that Lamar himself has been drawn the ire of several bloggers without due cause. His family has been slandered, his father’s reputation drug through the mud all because he chose to state his opinion. Might I refer you to your Civics and Geography texts. Open you geography book, locate our state on a global map; now locate the name of our country. Now open your Civics book and look up USA. Hint: you won’t find it under the listing of Communist countries. Might I also refer you to the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the US constitution). The First Amendment establishes your right to free speech. Guess what? It also gives me and everyone else on this blog the right to voice our opinions not subject to your approval.

    Get your head out of the sand and look around you. The signs are there if you pay attention.

  256. anon 8:26, I’m not going to argue with you, I suppose I’m just ignorant.
    I didn’t mean that Lamar was a bad person or anything, just that moderators are used to keep fights like these from happening.
    By the way I’m socialist, not communist.

    Anon 8:19, I don’t know what to say.

  257. Kudos to Anonymous 8:26. I truly cannot believe that students are defending the very people they complain about on a DAILY basis. I’ve seen students crying, yes, CRYING because of certain teachers and administrators. I have also heard from certain middle school gifted teachers that they encourage their students not to attend Bolton for one reason: a certain gifted teacher. You know who I mean. Again, this is not heresay, it’s fact.

    I love Bolton, but it is far from a utopian society, particularly in the past two years.

  258. Vigilance,

    Therein is where you miss the point. To moderate in your context means to censor. These blogs are a venue for the exchange of ideas and open dialogue. You never know where that dialogue will take you but to moderate that dialogue strikes at the very heart of these blogs.

    You should be proud that so many people rose to Bolton’s defense all be it with sometimes less than perfect grammar or decorum.

    What has happened at Bolton is wrong, plain and simple.

    Those who do not stand with us stand against us. Where do you stand?

  259. To the students: What we’re undertaking is an exercise in deconstruction. Essentially, the commenters are viewing the binary oppositions that currently run through the system. The reader is to discern which set he/she is willing to throw out and which boundary they are willing to remain in. Consider this dialogue as a supplement of the original text instead of pissing and moaning.

    More power to you if you attend the Board meetings. That is a positive step forward and will show you how business is conducted in this region. Be forewarned though that these meetings are highly boring and often provide little outlet for voicing your opinion. Observe first and then begin to formulate some form of action.

    Actually, Bolton needs to teach German again. I kinda want that job.

  260. You ask me to choose for or against my school? Surely my duty is to my school and I would stand by her till the end.
    But where is the honor in quarreling over nothing, that we should fight over our ideas of moderation is senseless. Please though I would like to hear what you have to say about what should and can be done to save our beloved school.

  261. Vigilance, what we can and must do is rise above all of this pettiness and let the past be simply that, the past. Bolton is still a great school and we must band together to demonstrate that to the community at large. By standing together and focusing on the future of our school and not dwelling on the past, we will prove to outsiders what we all know in our hearts, that our school is a wonderful place to be and to learn. Problems can be found everywhere and there are always the negative type who will dramatize them to the fullest to whatever audience will listen. We cannot get trapped in this sea of negativity but must rise above it like the mature, ethical, tolerant people we are!

  262. Nicely said, but what would you say the main problems are right now? I’ve been led to believe that the rezoning has cutten our attendence and thru this most of the classes and teachers we once had.

  263. Maybe you could try treating the teachers you do have with a little respect. Fellow members of the class of 2008, haven’t we lost 2 English 3 teachers since school started?? How much english will you leanr from mr. elmore??

  264. “where is the honor in quarreling over nothing”

    Is the destruction of a legacy “nothing”?

    Is the irreparable damage to the reputation of professional educators “nothing”?

    Whether the students like it or not, Bolton is in a downward spiral. It might not die in a year, or five years, but if this continues, it will most certainly be gone.

  265. being a student that used to be in honors english but is petrified to take ap english. The 2 english 3 teachers that quit:

    1) the first teacher was highly unqualified to do the task at hand. Being in her class. i really felt as though i needed to move up to english 3 but i waited for the new teacher to come…

    2) the second teacher was very much different from the first. she was very disciplined and a very good teacher. few gave her a chance, and a better offer came up for her.

    I think we need to find a teacher who has teaching experience in english and wants to work at bolton…….

    Mr. Higgins if you’re reading this find a replacement for English 4 AP. Anyone but Monroe and i will take it. If u add a honors english 4 a lot of people will take it….trust me

  266. where the hell do you think they will find an english teacher NOW ?? do you think there are a bunch of GREAT english teachers sitting around somewhere, after school has started, waiting to find a job??

    English 3 is screwed until next year. what happened with the new new teacher??

  267. i saw the news tonight. interesting, ASH had a mayoral forum and bolton students are arguing about nothing. which group looks smarter now???

  268. “anon 8:26, I’m not going to argue with you, I suppose I’m just ignorant.
    I didn’t mean that Lamar was a bad person or anything, just that moderators are used to keep fights like these from happening.
    By the way I’m socialist, not communist.”

    I can’t prevent fights from happening. This is a serious issue and deserves serious attention, and I would never entertain the idea of “shutting it down” or censoring it. And this doesn’t make me a bad moderator. If anything, it makes me a GOOD moderator, one who allows the open exchange of ideas to flourish (which, incidentally, should be the perogative of a good school as well).

  269. Actually Anon 10:40, there are prospective teachers sitting around waiting for a job. I am one, though uncertified. I’ve got the degrees, the experience teaching English, and the drive.

    It just depends on if Bolton would take a chance and hire me. That is the main question.

  270. Vigilance,

    As a socialist, what ways would you make Bolton egalitarian? Would you set up a Owensian community model? Or how about a non-utopian Marxist community?

    My point, and this extends to the rest of the current students, is what would you do to improve your education, academic atmosphere, and overall situation? Are you willing to recruit others despite the criticisms involved in this discourse? Would you set up an alternative newspaper that expresses your opinions and fosters intellectual growth (seriously, other high schoolers have done this in this country)? Will you attend school board meetings, petition Higgins for course expansion, or protest changes when they arise?

    You’ve got some sway in this ordeal if you know how to channel it. What will you do?

  271. Bolton might hire you if Ms. Monroe thinks it is okay. you might not want the job. Unless you enjoy having someone critique every move you make, and tell you exactly how you MUST do your job. Why do you think 2 english teachers quit already this year???

  272. I just started to look at this blog, and I am appalled by all of the name-calling and accusations that adults are throwing around. As a former student of Bolton, I feel obliged to defend both Ms. Nancy Monroe and Ms. Charlene Johnson. During my time at Bolton High School, these two women devoted themselves to ensuring that their students had a thorough understanding of both history and English. I believe that any student that took their classes and proceded to apply to colleges can agree that it would have been impossible to complete applications without their assistance. Beyond that, each of these women take pride in their work as teachers and would never attempt to undermine the education of their students. The only thing that I am disappointed to discover is that Ms. Johnson is no longer teaching history, although I am sure that the library is better than ever under her care. To those of you who believe that she obtained that position through her relationship with Dr. Sams, I would just like to remind you that the condition of the library before was so horrific that a potentially excellent resource was being wasted. A change was desperately needed. Charlene Johnson was hired as Bolton’s librarian not to be a “spy” for Dr. Sams but because a job needed to be done, and she has a reputation of never quitting until the task is complete and flawless. Both Ms. Monroe and Ms. Johnson are being accused of being awful people and educators, but I would like to argue that they practice a policy of tough love. Unfortunately, some students do not respond well to the challenge, but most recognize that both teachers want students to live up to their potential. I hope that people take the time to read this and recognize that what has previously been said on this blog is the product of hatred, not facts.

  273. If Tioga, Pineville, Nachman, Arthur Smith, or any litany of Rapides Parish schools were suffering like Bolton, i’m pretty sure Lamar would publish a commentary or at least ask vital questions. It’s just that simple.

  274. I admit I only got a quarter of the way down the page before I skipped the rest. I will tell you that, from what I read, I saw I lot of things about Nancy Monroe. I have her and find her to be a very nice teacher who pushes her students hard and I do not believe that she bases she grades on gender at all. you are welcome to think as you want, but I must inform you that you are interfering with my education process.

  275. I admit I only got a quarter of the way down the page before I skipped the rest. I will tell you that, from what I read, I saw I lot of things about Nancy Monroe. I have her and find her to be a very nice teacher who pushes her students hard and I do not believe that she bases her grades on gender at all. you are welcome to think as you want, but I must inform you that you are interfering with my education process. : )

  276. “y dont u give me your address mr lamar so i can come and beat the ever living shit out of u”

    Haha. Sure kid, it’s 1000 Bolton Avenue.

  277. “A guy that dislikes Lamar said…

    Lamar if you went to Ash, why are you so concerned about Bolton?”

    Hey Guy,

    Really? Isn’t it obvious already? Bolton is one of Alexandria’s most cherished institutions, and its health should be important to anyone who cares about our community. It doesn’t matter where I graduated. (By the way, ASH has its own set of problems; Bolton’s are just more pronounced right now). As I stated before, my grandmother used to teach at Bolton for many years. My uncles, aunts, cousins, and some of my best friends are all Bolton alumns.

    Does that answer your question? Or would you rather see this as some stupid school rivalry thing?

    Sorry you don’t like me. I think you’re swell.

  278. I know that in my post I said that I would not be on this blog again, but I feel compelled to do so for the children I love, so many of whom have written to me and contacted me during this time.

    While I had to remove myself from the topic of Bolton, I in no way can distance myself from the people I love there. The thing I loved most about Bolton was its culture, the people that came to it from all walks of life, all searching for meaning and direction. I felt that we, in that school, offered students a safe place where they could grow as individuals and as scholars. As an English teacher, my greatest moments in the classroom came in the forum of open discussion about a piece of literature, in which students from diverse ethnicities, social classes, philosophies and religions would deconstruct a text based upon their own experiences, vulnerabilities, and desires and construct a personal meaning. From these discussions, discovery came, belief crystallized, and insight grew. Those moments, to me, are the best of what Bolton offers: those moments of epiphany, where all who try can “see to see,” and they do so as a community, all engaged in the same purpose. There were so many of them at Bolton, and they made the school a special place.

    I will always cherish the time I spent at Bolton. I became a teacher there, a real one, willing to risk, willing to lose, all in the hope that, somehow, we could all find that for which we search. Realize this, students: you are what make Bolton, “Bolton.” Forums such as this, where you can seek answers and find solutions are really not any different from what we did in class. We hold up a concept and look at it from many directions because we dare to make it real and to make it beautiful and to make it have meaning. And somewhere along the way, “learning” happens.

    Don’t bash Lamar for trying to do this. Embrace his desire to seek truth and solutions, and go forth in finding your own.

    The best to each of you,
    Ms. Self

  279. This is outrageous..i mean …our enrollment has gone down…and so what if we dont get all the money like ASH or Peabody does..we still have the school..and everything that comes along with be glad that you still have Bolton..and remember that when you talk bad about these teachers and the’s not doing you any good..from the teachers i’ve talked to..they could care less what people have said about there is no point in talking about them.

    Think about what you really have at Bolton.

  280. Of coursewe don’t get the money the other schools get. Pineville and Peabody have new buildings, and our classrooms haven’t been painted for at least 10 years. The students at Bolton have pride because it is all they have.

    They don’t have new computer labs, or new science labs, or new calculators, or new anything, but they do have pride.

  281. bolton is always being criticized. People who aren’t the least bit involved with the school think they know what it’s like. John Sams did a good job of screwing things up…but students STILL go there and it is STILL and institution of learning. They say it’s gone downhill so much, but it still has the highest test scores in the area. Since when does a school have to have 1,000 students to be considered a good school? The enrollment clearly went down due to rezoning, not because of anything Mrs. Toney or anyone else did. As far as i’m concerned the number of students is the only thing that has changed, and numbers shouldn’t have anything to do with the school itsself.

  282. I really don’t see why everyone is against Mr. Higgin’s? I thought Ms. Toney was a great principal, but I also think Mr. Higgin’s is just as good. He is stepping into a school, as you can see from the forum, that has some disadvantages from the other high schools in the town. Give Mr. Higgin’s time. His first year was completely different than any school year he or anyone else has ever faced. This year there are many changes at Bolton. The major one is athletics. The football team is so much better this year. I mean we lost to the warhorses by 3 points. We lost to Ash what 30-7 and an early TD was called back. Our basketball team is going to be amazing again this year and our baseball team has many new students this year. He has also put together a very good faculty. Dominic stated that many good teachers have walked out Bolton’s doors for good in the past two years. Well, who had to replace all of the wonderful teachers? It seems like everyone has stated the same stuff over and over again. O well, I want to say what is on my mind. Mrs. Monroe, who is getting the bad end of the deal on this forum, is a wonderful teacher and person. I never seen a teacher that cares about her students and the school like her. I don’t see why people would come on a forum that is this popular and cut some one down that badly. The same with Mrs. Johnson, what has she done to ya’ll? I agree with many people on this forum, unfortunately all them are Bolton teachers and students. How are Bolton students supposed to keep all the pride that we have in our school, if we have a bunch of no lifes coming in here and degrading the school, the students, the teachers, and the principal.

    By the way Dominic, you left out Mr. Whitehead. O yeh let me add this for Bolton students only, if you want to join ping pong club, one of the new things at Bolton, talk to me or Greg Jos. (Just to put something off subject. Who knows, maybe someone will get off Bolton and start talking about how ping pong shouldn’t be allowed in High School or something, then it would probably get back at Bolton for allowing ping pong)

  283. RE: My mother… Ms. Coffman

    I would like to comment on SEVERAL things that I have just spent more than an hour reading.
    I have to say it has literally made me cry.
    My mother has been a hard working and dedicated teacher at Bolton High School since 1993. She is probably one the most dedicated and strongest women I have ever known. While earning two bachelor degrees, one in Biology and one in Education, she raised three children completely on her own. Might I add she made all A’s!! How many women do you know that could accomplish such? That takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Over her 13 years at Bolton she has taught everything from Physical Science regulars to AP Chemistry to Physics. I witnessed first hand the amount of time (Saturdays included!), research, and hard work she put into her AP Chemistry class last year. Might I add that two of her AP Chemistry students scored a 4 on the AP Test, 5 being the best score possible?? That is one heck of an accomplishment.
    During the 13 years that my mother has taught at Bolton my brother, my sister, and I have all attended school here. Every year from 1994-2003 many of our friends had my mother as their science teacher. Their comments? WOW … your Mom really knows her stuff! In fact this summer a girl who was a freshman when I graduated stopped me on the LSUA campus and told me how much my mother’s Biology class was really helping in her college level Biology class this summer. Did I seek out this girl and ask her for her comments? NO. She came to me. Way to go Mom! During my years at Bolton I know for a fact that students tried to get my Mom for their science teacher, because she was hard? I hardly think so, but because her students left her classroom having learned. Funny how she is such a “joke” as a teacher that she has had her former students call her for Biology help while away at college. “Hey Ms. Coffman, remember that…. can you help me refresh my memory? If she was such a bad teacher, why would former students call her. I have never had a friend of mine or of my siblings say anything negative about her ways in the classroom.
    And as far as being “flirtatious” to Mr. Higgins or being his “floozy” I take that EXTREMELY personal!!!!!! How dare you! I hope that someone never says something so hurtful about you. To read that another adult, a colleague of my mothers, and a teacher of my former alma matter, literally made me cry. You probably pass her everyday and smile in her face and then to turn around and call her a “floozy” BY NAME and PUBLICLY … shame shame shame on you. And then to be “anonymous” are you kidding me?? She has been there for 13 years and all of a sudden she is late, a floozy, a joke..etc… Get a grip people…
    Ms. Monroe I think that you alone are one of the BEST traditions in Bolton High School. Bolton has the BEST English department and because you put so much of YOUR time and dedication into it, I know that I have done so well in college English courses because of YOUR hard work!
    Let’s all face something … no matter where you work or go to school … there will always be favorites, people that do not get along, and people that are just flat out mean. However, when it comes to the point of slander and nit-picky name calling it has become way out of hand. My hat is off to the faculty of Bolton High School that have been there for 10+ years…. these people are the very ones that try to keep Bolton a tradition to its students. I am very proud to have walked the halls of Bolton High School. To all of the OUTSTANDING faculty at Bolton… GO FORTH, WIN HONOR AND WIN FAME!

    Alicia Coffman-Fredieu
    Class of 2003
    Daughter of Ms. Coffman

  284. The Bolton situation is something my friends and I discussed daily around a picnic table at lunch for four long, hard years. Looking back, I’m greatful for my experiences at the school, but glad to finally be away from such turmoil and stress. The fact is, esteemed community members, that those teenage highschool students know far more about the politics and petty prejudices than anyone has ever given them credit for. One common saying about youth is that their minds are like sponges, they simply absorb everything they hear, true or untrue.
    The simple facts as I experienced them while at Bolton:

    Ms Monroe is a difficult teacher, and oftentimes a difficult person to understand. However, despite any personal misunderstandings she and I may have had at any point in time, I credit her class’s difficulty and the careful and meticulous English Department that once existed at Bolton with my current sucess in college. After surviving four years of late nights, unbelievable stress, and poor grades, I’ve learned to value effort and hard work more than a simple classification and I find college course work manageable while several of my peers are floundering. Though a sometimes miserable experience, it has paid off in the end.

    Just to do some shameless promotion for a wonderful teacher who rarely recieves the acclaim she deserves: Melissa Monroe, the spanish teacher, is often under appreciated at Bolton. Her classes inspired me to continue on with my spanish education in college and have given me six hours of language credit before ever stepping foot in a college classroom. She is a remarkable person who genuinely cares for her students and has a wealth of wit and knowledge to share.

    The Bolton pride is a tool for student survival and should not be derided as “cute.” No one who has not personally experienced the day to day struggles within that school over the past four or five years can truly understand the situation within. Our school fierce school spirit helped students proudly soldier on in the face of faculty turmoil, poorly performing athletics, and constant omission or derision from the Town Talk. It is a matter of honor that the students are able to hold on so fiercely to their identity and desire for a better school despite adversity.

    To all current students:
    Take the difficult courses even though it may ruin your gpa or place you in the classroom with a teacher you despise, the eventual experiences will be worth the year of pain. When the School Board gives you hell, get active. Remember the class of ’06 and the graduation ordeal. You have the power to change things within the system.

    Laura Ruth Parker
    Class of 2006
    Baylor Student

  285. This is all ridiculous! Seriously…I take PRIDE in the fact that I am a 2006 graduate of Bolton High School. I transfered my sophomore year to Bolton from Pineville because of the academics. I now sit in my classrooms and BECAUSE of teachers like KELLY SELF, CORY BARNETTE, BARBARA GOURGUES, BARRY LEE, STEPHANIE MARCOTTE, MANDY FORTENBERRY, KEITHA MANNING, CATHY MARTINEZ, RITA MATHEWS(who never even taught me but was still ALWAYS willin to help any student that passed her way), JAMES ADDISON (who is not not there anymore because of retirement) but many more teachers and staff are the reason why I am where I a today. Those teachers helped me learn not only the material i was supposed to learn but about myself! There were times when i KNOW my teachers got to school at 6:30 am or stayed until 6 pm to MAKE sure that their student knew what they needed to succeed. AND Both Ms. Toney and Mr. Higgins helped me through my years at Bolton. No one is the same and yes I do feel as if Ms. Toney was robbed by Sams but change does come along and just because it is something you are not used to does not mean that it has to become the end of the world. I am proud to say that I graduated from Bolton High School and that I walked the halls everyday for three years….that I cheered on a football team that even though they didnt win every game THEY STILL GOT ON THE FIELD the following Friday! I’m proud to say that my class prided on our school spirit and that I was asked to sing the ALMA MATER at most assemblies and other important activites. Reading some of these comments really hurts. I and along with many others that have come through Bolton were challenged…we wanted to do the best we could.

    The only bad thing I can say about Bolton was in my senior year which this HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH HIGGINS…but since our student body was low we could only hire one teacher for band and choir and of course a band teacher was hired. I have been singing for as long as I can remember but actually learning music for almost 15 years of my life and for my senior year to be sacrificed was uncalled for. Doug Fetters is an idiot and if he is still at Bolton and he is over the Chorale department there will be no choral department. I was in teacher cadet my senior year and when a job shadow day came about I asked Mr. Higgins if i could go to RUGG and he said of course. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said I wanted to teach others music. He then asked me where I would want to teach when I graduated and I said I was not sure. He asked me why not Bolton and I said because of my senior year. Its a shame when someone so passionate about music DROPS the course the middle of her senior year. When Mark Richards was there Bolton was a BOOMING performing arts. Pineville had nothing of Mark Richards and Richards is one of the best choral directors around and Bolton suffered by loosing him and Addison. I am now a vocal music major at Northwestern State University and because of James Addison and Gail Roach my music career is going to grow so much more. My voice teacher has told me so many good things and I owe it to them. I recently received my first college paper back and found out that i received at 98 % A…thank you KELLY SELF because you are the reason that I opened up to writing. Because of Mrs. Keitha MANNING…When my professor is discussing Blooms Taxonomy I know exactly what she is talking about because of things I learned in Mannings Class….heck I went to a friends history and geography class just go because I didnt have one this semester and I knew more than most people in the class because of BARNETTE, GOURGUES, AND LEE!!!!

    Yes, Bolton will end up being run into the ground but HOW DARE any of you blame Higgins or Toney….if anything its the School Board and the community….there are SEVERAL more than several very influential people in the community that graduated from Bolton so why are they not doing anything?? And if they are What is wrong??

    I dont know…this just honestly makes me sick. You know its funny when you are at college and you are sitting around with other students you graduated with talking about how much you loved high and everything about it and having people look at you and say its just high school…why are you still worried….Bolton was not just a High School….its a way of life. It has made one of the biggest impressions on my life and I am thankful for everything and everyone I ever came into contact with at Bolton.

    BY THE WAY MS. PAM WEBB NEEDS TO ON THE SCHOOL BOARD!!! That woman is awesome and if half the people in the community could have the heart she has for Bolton….I know that people would see a MASSIVE turn around for Bolton.

    Kayla Valentine
    Class of 2006
    NSU Student

  286. Kayla – we were reading the blog at the same time early this morning! You are soooo right that Bolton is a way of life. You can see it develop in most students during their years at Bolton. I spent two short years at Bolton, and would have returned for a third, but I was banned from Bolton. Yes students, it wasn’t my teaching (because employment in Rapides was not the issue) but because I stood up (all 5’ of me). I stood up to both Monroe and Higgins. Archaic teaching techniques was the issue with Monroe, and “anything to win” in athletics was Higgins. Both conversations were private, because professionalism is important. Respect is one cornerstone of my family who are nationally recognized achievers in academics, politics, and athletics.
    When I first walked into Bolton I could tell something was different. This was not the “normal” high school. Here was a school that didn’t have a coach as principal. What a concept! I met an extremely formidable woman sitting in the principal’s chair. She saw my talents as a teacher, and gave me a teaching load that enabled me to contribute my best abilities to the students. Her door was always open. I may not have received the answer I had hoped for at the end of our conversation, but we always had a respectful exchange of ideas. And for the students – when a teacher saw her standing in the doorway, looking over the top of her glasses, and summoning you with her index finger, you knew it was not good. I still shudder at that image. As a teacher, Ms. Toney permitted me to experiment (within reason) to see if I could capture the imaginations of students and stir the mixture of knowledge, creativity, and association to propel you to new awakenings of the mind and spirit. Kelly Self, Marilyn Branch, and Rita Mathews also helped me make the transition to public high school teacher, and I thank them.
    When Higgins arrived teachers did their best to give him the benefit of the situation. We would wait and see how Higgins presented himself throughout the year. He’d let us know, because behavior that does not come from the core of an individual cannot be maintained over a sustained period of time. Although he used intimidation (a standard military tactic) on both teachers and students, he did his best to talk the talk. The problem arose when he could not walk the walk. The teachers just kept trying to make sure Bolton stayed Bolton – for the sake of students and alums. If you are a current student at Bolton, realize that neither one person nor trauma can change your school. It is the systematic undoing of this institution that is the issue. After my first year at Bolton I asked Ms. Toney why the media and community hated Bolton so much. Could the reason be continued success in the face of continuous adversity?
    Students – get ready – old woman talking. I graduated from high school the same year Ms. Toney but not at Bolton. Our generation’s goal was to change the perception of our nation, and if possible, the world. In some ways we succeeded, in others we failed. Politicians are swayed by public opinion. They can’t afford to look bad. You, your parents, and the alums have the power. My generation was fortunate to have exceptional role models: Gandhi, King, Maier, Kennedy, etc. We learned the power of our voices and actions, when used in an appropriate peaceful manner. You must have an advocate within the system who also wants the best for you and your school. Could this be Pam Webb? You already have many of the leaders of Alexandria (Alumni Association), as mentioned in an earlier blog.
    Last year the STAR students (Future Teachers of America) and I attended a school board meeting. There we witnessed local middle school parents who were very concerned about the conditions at that school. Some had visited the school and sat in on classes. They were well prepared, spoke concisely yet eloquently, and had a list of the dates on which they contacted each of the school board officials/board members and the results of each call. As a group, they were excellent advocates for successful education.
    As a former Bolton teacher I am very impressed with the postings that offered well developed arguments and positive perspectives. I agree with the kudos to Lamar for offering this forum. As a person who has experience managing a similar forum, this is a difficult task, especially with the effluent passion and posting frequency. Additionally, realize that this blog is most probably being monitored at RPSB so you would need to go elsewhere if you need a private conversation. I can speak up because I am no longer at Bolton. Would I return to Bolton? In a heart-beat, but under an academic principal, preferably Ms. Toney. By posting though, I may have thwarted any attempt to return. You have something VERY SPECIAL at Bolton. Celebrate it and protect it.

    Respectfully submitted,
    K. Manning, Ed.D.

  287. i’d just like to say that i have nancy monroe and she is fair as long as you do you work and pay attention and give 100%. those who don’t like her are the slackers!!!

  288. I offer a solution to the problem. The following staff and administratiors must go in order to restore Bolton.
    Bill Higgins-Principal a.k.a. Porky Unpluged!
    Nancy Monroe-Chief of Staff
    Brian Parmley-Asst. Principal (Althoug I like him and wanted him to be the principal; somehow I feel that he is a part of the problem)
    Charlene Johnson-What is her job title again? Oh, that’s right she is the “free teacher” a.k.a. Sam’s bitch!
    Charlotte Bryant-Why in the hell was she brought back again? Stay in retirement! This is not your fight!
    Bring back the following:
    Cory Barnette
    Dr. Keitha Manning
    Kelly Self
    Penny Toney(give her the title as Chief Reconstrution Officer)

  289. by give 100 %, you mean to HER class. God forbid you have other classes, or clubs, or a job, or even family responsibilites. her class is ONE of five a smsmester. They are ALL important.

  290. anon 5:55 that is not true because i am not a slacker but she doesn’t like me but i stand up to her and refused to be talked to like an idiot. As for ms. Jannell Coffman i am a living witness that she doesn’t come to school everyday and just missed days whenever she felt like as a member of her class in 2005-2006. No one knew of her absences so we just had no teacher, substitute or anything. I can also say that Ms. Coffman favored some people over others. I know one kid she didn’t like by the name of Mike Jones. He’s so cute, anyway I’m glad i’ll never have to take her class again.

  291. Why is there so much hostility toward Monroe? I understand that some people are upset because they didn’t get handed an A in that class like they had been handed the rest of their academic career but is it really Nancy’s fault that none of her students have a perfect command of the English language? I would never claim to be talented in her class but I do see the wall of students who have made 30s or higher on the ACT everyday. Would that have really been possible without Ms. Monroe? I don’t think so personally but I guess everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. But calling for her resignation is just the easy way out. Nancy has a total of 8 seniors in her class this year. If the people posting comments about her really don’t like her then why not take her class again and pass it for a final year out of pure spite? I personally like Monroe but if I didn’t she would still be affected. Nancy is to the student population as Herb Brooks was to the 1980 U.S. Hockey team. If you love her then you will want to pass the class to remain in her good graces. If not then you will form a bond with you classmates and want to pass the class just to rub it in her face. Either way you will become more adept in the English language. Plus I have never (in all the wide spread complaints I have heard about her class) actually heard of someone failing it. Not to say that this hasn’t happened. But I am saying that no one who didn’t deserve to fail has failed.

    So please if you want to make suggestions to improve Bolton how about this: stop sinking money into a football team that will never be able to compete with the other teams in the area and give the money to the teams that actually do well in competition. The soccer team has a good shot at making a great showing in the play-offs this year. The tennis team has made a decent showing for the last few years. Even the cross-country and swim teams are likely to have a better record this year than the football team. Yet the majority of the athletic budget is decided by the football team… does that seem fair to anyone?

    Why mess with Higgins? Who can honestly say they don’t like this guy? Has Higgins ever really crossed anyone or said anything even remotely offensive to any of you?

  292. Yes as a matter of fact i heard him specifically say “I’d pay someone to jack him up”. He was refering to Jonterrious Jackson because he and other teenagers were horse playing around the school during lunch period. He alsoed told football player Deville to hit another player extra hard and illegaly to show him a lesson about behavior.

    How you like them apples.

  293. So let me get this strait… the best example you can come up with is that he told a football player to hit someone? Forgive me… but are you in coach Lackey’s class?

  294. can anybody get back to the real point of this blog? as a student of the class of 2008..i say do what you can to suceed..we have lost some of the best teachers..but that does not give anyone a reason to dog Mr. Higgins..he is trying to do a good job, and if any of you would actually talk to him, you would understand…i admit i did not like him last year..because of things with teachers, but you have to get over it…don’t hold grudges…these teachers that are no longer at Bolton that have posted..i think that you all have done a wonderful job at Bolton..i would love to have you back in a heart beat…but we can’t always get what we want…

  295. we have lost some of the best teachers..but that does not give anyone a reason to dog Mr. Higgins

    Let’s follow your logic for a minute. Say the same situation occurs at a business which we’ll call it GloboChem. GloboChem has several offsite production houses where they manufacture food additives. Now, their best site gets a new manager at the urging of CEO Burns. This manager comes with a less than sparkling resume and pales in comparison to the old onsite manager.

    Our new manager, and the CEO Burns, begin to institution major changes while also playing favorites and acting lax in their duties. As a result, the workers get angry and proceed to leave or ask to get transfered to another worksite. At the same time other workers are being demoted from their positions and are questioning to reasoning for this.

    By your logic we should not blame the new manager. In fact, we have no reason to throw any scorn his way. He’s just trying to do his job. Hell, if you sit down and have a talk with him you’d find that he’s a good guy!

    Here are the flaws:
    1) If there is a proven problem, then there needs to be an investigation into why so many teachers have left. Normal teacher turnover is one thing, but this story reaks of other problems. To ask that we not criticize the current administration is a bit simplistic in thinking.

    2) We shouldn’t hold grudges? Tell that to the men and women who lost their life savings at WorldCom or Arthur Anderson after those companies tanked. Some of these posters have a very clear and understandable reason for leaving. There is a lot of underlying psychological damage that has been inflicted upon these people. You can’t just say “Forgive and Forget!” It is harder than it sounds. To move on is one thing, but the aching memory remains.

    And to the political sign thief, I wholeheartedly agree that we should stop sinking money into football at the neglect of other sports. Sometimes I wonder if Title IX means anything to people in this parish.

  296. Did anyone hear about that Mckenzly kid biting that dudes nipple off in the boys locker room today? That is messed up yo. I heard that dude had to go to the hospital for to get stiches, and the nipple biter dude went to his next class. Something is wrong with the peeps up top when retards like that are left unpunished with the other people. I say that kid needs to get his nipple bitten off, or at least beat stupid.

  297. I graduated from Bolton in 2002, and was there to experience the administration of both Mr. Akins and Ms. Toney. Both of my parents and numerous other members of my family graduated from Bolton, and my sister is currently enrolled as a sophomore. I am extremely proud that she has the opportunity to receive the excellent education that I was privileged to for four years. There have been plenty of harsh words spewed back and forth on this forum, and I refuse to resort to that, especially on an anonymous level. However, I do wish to take the chance to defend my alma mater and the faculty that has represented it.

    The administration of Ms. Toney was a very good one. Yes, it was different from that of Ron Akins, but different is not always a bad thing. Having been a Bolton student herself, and having taught there for many years, she was an excellent choice for administrator. It is obvious that she cares deeply for her students, as well as the integrity of Bolton High School. To this day, when I see her in the community she is always interested in how my life is going, my education, my family, etc. I do not know of many principals or teachers that would take such a continued interest in students that has last walked their halls more than four years ago.

    I was taught or influenced by nearly every teacher discussed in this forum, and have the utmost respect for each of them. Ms. Monroe, Self, Johnson, LaCaze, Marcotte, Sanders, Coffman… I have had them all. Each one of these women has in one way or another shaped the way I am today. I remember the late nights of studying for Ms. Johnson’s AP American History tests, as well as Ms. Monroe’s quotations and ever-constant timed writings. My senior memory project for Ms. Self’s AP English 4 class is something that my mother still treasures to this day, as it chronicled 18 years of my life through my perspective at the time. Ms. Lacaze spent 4 years teaching me to better stand up for myself and to speak my mind about what I think; not to be afraid to take on authority and to fight for change whenever I think that it is warranted — for that I will always be grateful. Ms. Sanders did much of the same — taught me the value of reading between the lines and getting down to the truth of a matter. Mrs. Marcotte is one of the most gifted math teachers I have ever encountered, and the only one who has ever made math make sense to me. Ms. Coffman is an excellent teacher who cares greately about her students – I recall her being very hands on and had a great desire to make learning fun for her students.

    For anyone to have referred to any of these women as evil, satanic, moronic or anything else is nothing short of childish. Having been a student there, I know that each and every teacher I encountered had their students welfare and well-being in mind with each day that passed. I know that sentiment is echoed by many of my fellow alumni — I only hope that future generations are able to share in that sentiment.

    – Chris Pounders
    2002 Bolton Alumni

  298. that kid has “behavior disorder”. which means that he can act crazy and they can’t do anything to get rid of him. its his “disability”

  299. What some of you, especially former students, don’t understand is that many of the teachers mentioned negatively in this blog were held in check by other principals. Now with the new principal, they are running rampant doing whatever they want.

    Previously, if I’m not mistaken, most or all Bolton principals have been former Bolton students, which gave them a vested interest in the future of the school. Mr. Higgins can talk about how much he loves kids all he wants. It won’t pain his conscience one bit to run Bolton into the ground and then simply walk away.

  300. To the political sign bandit:

    If your writings are an example of how much you learned in Ms. Monroe’s class, then I believe what has been posted on this blog about her ability to teach students. You should check your sentence structure and grammatics before you brag about how much you learned in her class.

    I had her as a teacher and she never inspired me to learn. She was always walking in Ms. Toney’s shadow, trying to be something she wasn’t. I also had Ms. Toney as a teacher and she changed my life.I don’t know Mr. Higgins, so I can’t speak to his capabilities.

  301. This blog has been an amazing thing. Ms. Self was right in stating that it is not different from the forums that we had in her class, which is just one thing lost from Bolton English classes. This forum has shown that so many people care about Bolton, including graduates from other schools. (Good job and High-Five, Lamar) Teachers, students, and parents have taken the time and risk to speak what is on their hearts. But, this blog has also taken an ugly turn. There has been name-calling, profane language, and stupidity displayed that has not at all been necessary. The original questions have not been provided answers and no one is really talking about what to do to remedy what is going on at Bolton. What are we to do to lay these demons to rest? We have to find the source of the problems and start from there!!!! Not nit-pick, name call, and back-stab, for one. Start at the source and weed out the bad. Bolton’s future is at stake, along with the futures of the hundreds of students that are attending Bolton and the ones that will.

    The school board is the primary cause of the issues that have risen. John Sams is a prominent figure in that group, but regardless of what he thinks, he is not God and he does not run the entire board. Letting this one man have so much power over one institution is ridiculous.

    Bolton was a huge institution, with a large number of students and amazing and dedicated faculty, all of them. I’ve never been to a school where everyone in the building was so happy. And Penny Toney was the happiest of them all. She cared more about that school than humanly possible. And how could she not? She was a student, then a teacher, and finally the principal. She gave Bolton everything she had and it was swept from under her, for reasons that had nothing to do with the school. Yes, Bolton had its problems, but what school doesn’t? Ms. Toney cared about each and everyone who came through Bolton’s doors and she wanted them to succeed. To take a person so passionate about the school away was one of the first and mot-influential things that caused Bolton’s recent battles.

    The next was to let Mr. Higgins take Ms. Toney’s place. Mr. Higgins put in an application to be the principal for a school in Rapides Parish and the school board let Sams stick him at Bolton, even though he was not qualified. His record speaks for itself. He may have been the most qualified applicant, but he wasn’t qualified enough to take the place as principal of Bolton high school. Bolton’s traditions and standings were not something that he was acquainted with. His personality certainly did not and does not fit and he certainly doesn’t have the students’ at heart. Students, defend him if you feel, but as an onlooker, I saw more than a few students whose confidence and whole-hearted concerns, he tried to stomp into the ground. I know how tenacious, chauvinist, apathetic, and evil he was to students didn’t kiss his butt, students whose parents didn’t donate to the school, students who questioned things rather than have hold there questions to themselves, and how dare I say that he was this way to students who looked and acted different. He came into Bolton’s situation, innocently. But, it was his decision to ally with certain people and personally insult, threaten, intimidate, and “transfer” people. The people who have been apart of his charade aren’t even important. No, not everything were the dealings of Mr. Higgins, but a lot of things were. Teachers have written on this blog about the treatment they endured. Students have foretold stories of what they had to endure. I know of my own treatment. Mr. Higgins was a jerk to me because I refused to bend over and kiss his butt. I was not mean to him, but I surely didn’t pretend to be his friend. I gave him the utmost respect when he deserved it AND when he didn’t. But because I didn’t agree with him and questioned some of his intentions, he had it out for me. He even let me know it. So, if you have no problems with Mr. Higgins, it’s because he has no problems with you.

    The way to help restore Bolton to its original “shine” is to vote good people into the school board. Everything has to go through these people, so put good people into the seats that have to make the hard decisions. Pam Webb is a great choice for the school board. She has a love for students and wants nothing but the best for them and she has been a major supporter.

    Students, remain spirited about your school. Bolton is a wonderful place with wonderful teachers and staff, who truly care and have your best interests at heart. Yeah, you lost quite a few good ones, but you still have some great ones left. So, be good to them.

    Vadeisha Williams
    c/o 2006

  302. All of this chit-chat is tedious and surely distructive to the morale of our current crop of young Bears. As we ponder the future of Bolton, I wonder where the students, their parents, and the alumni stand on Bolton’s future in Rapides Parish. What can be done?

  303. However tedious this chit chat has become, it has shown the need that SOMETHING needs to be done. Previously, no one knew the truth. Now it’s out.

  304. It is so disappointing to read all of the derogatory comments in this blog. Toney and Monroe were two of the most influential and respected teachers at Bolton when I was there from 1986-1990. Believe me when I say most everyone at Bolton during that timeframe will attest that those two teachers elevated our expectations of ourselves academically and truly helped to bring learning to the next level.
    I don’t live in Alexandria anymore, but to read what my high school and its reputation have become makes me sad.

    Proud to be a Bolton Alum, ’90 Grad

  305. 5:22 said “something needs to be done”

    This is what has been stated on this blog:
    1. If you like Ms. Webb, help her get elected.
    2. Have students and parents call Jones at RPSB. Politicians don’t like to look as if they aren’t listening.
    3. Speak at the school board meeting.
    4. Student petitions.
    5. Learn from last year’s seniors who were successful with the graduation problem. How did they accomplish having Higgins called in by Jones?

    Hope this helps.

  306. To that list of things to be done:

    6. Join the Bolton High School Alumni Association. With 552 dues paying members in less than 2 years, they are the fastest growing organization in Cenla.

  307. In 1981 at least, Bolton was no academic powerhouse. It had a small group of somewhat gifted students, but most of the time it seemed to be about “getting wasted” and finding classes where “coaches” were teaching.

  308. I might be a little biased, but Bolton seems to be like a close-knit family even now in 2010. For the past 4 years, it has been a fun and rewarding experience, even though the offerings of manual classes have basically gone down the drain.

  309. Simply want to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness for your submit is simply nice and that i can think you are an expert in this subject. Fine along with your permission allow me to grasp your feed to keep updated with imminent post. Thank you 1,000,000 and please carry on the enjoyable work.

  310. For anyone who is still concerned, Bolton has seemed to change quite a bit since this was created. As a recent graduate, I feel inclined to give a few updates for anyone who is curious.

    The school is every bit what everyone makes it out to be – the best academic school in the parish. (Although it may not stay this way for long.) Its success is mostly reliant upon the reputation that keeps drawing students in. Its reputation as the school with the highest parish ACT score, most AP course offerings, etc. is all its success is riding upon. I personally, have received the best education possible for this area, especially after comparing my experiences with those of comparable local high schools.

    Ms. Misty Slayter is now the principal, and there is nothing positive I can say about her. From diverting money from individual club accounts toward the failing athletic department (AKA the football team that is $40,000+ in debt) to replacing the only worthwhile athletic coaches to punishing students based solely upon the unfounded accusations of other students who can supposedly contribute more to the school than others to failing to accomplish the few duties she actually has, she’s done it all. The decline the school is faced with is, in my opinion, one hundred percent her doing.

    Ms. Nancy Monroe and Ms. Charlene Johnson are, as you may have guessed, still dominant forces in the school. I’m not sure if they were before, but now they are an inseparable force, basically best friends. Ms. Monroe is still in charge of every worthwhile group the school has or tries to be. With that being said, I can’t speak more highly of these two women. Are their classes challenging, sometimes seemingly unfairly so? Yes. But did I receive education from them that was of better quality than anyone else in the parish received? Yes. Both seek to push students to their full potential. If students aren’t achieving what they should be, they get the cold shoulder. While this technique may not work for all students, I can say it certainly pushed me harder knowing that working harder would save me from daily scolding. After working as one of Ms. Monroe’s “student workers,” I’ve seen a side of her most have not. She is passionate and cares about Bolton more than anything else, and really she cares about her students. Several students in my class were going through personal problems and once they explained their situations to her, she immediately became more helpful and understanding. These two are also some of the few teachers that are not afraid to speak out against the ridiculous actions of Ms. Slayter.

    A disappointment of mine is the decline of the Bolton Debate program. Ms. Melba Lacaze created one of the strongest teams in the state, and produced several state champions. Unfortunately, two teachers later, Bolton debate is almost nothing. I’ve witnessed the decline in my time there, and it is one of the saddest changes I’ve experienced.

    There are a handful of incredible teachers, including: Mr. Vidrine, Ms. Campbell, Ms. Branch, Ms. Johnson, Ms. Monroe, Ms. Sanders, Ms. Moore, Ms. Fortenberry, and Mr. Roy.

    Perhaps Bolton can one day reach its full potential. This will not happen as long as Ms. Slayter is principal as far as I’m concerned. The best students in the parish are no longer being drawn there as they were 5 or so years ago. With offerings of 17+ AP classes, teachers that can push students hard enough to achieve the highest ACT scores year after year, and some of the most dedicated people I’ve ever met, Bolton has the potential – it just needs a little push.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s