Confusion at Collins Middle as students shuffle schools

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By Annie Moore  
WVVA Multimedia Journalist  

OAK HILL -- On Monday, Fayette County school officials announced that the main building at Collins Middle School would be closed due to unsafe conditions.

Officials said 5th and 6th graders would be staying at the school but in a different building. They also said 7th graders will go to Fayetteville High School on Thursday and 8th graders would go to Oak Hill High School.

But a day after that announcement, WVVA found chaos and confusion among parents over bathrooms, breakfast, and after-school activities.

"Students say there are boys and girls going into the bathroom at the same time. I don't know, something needs to be done. Our kids can't be living in filth, eating on the floor, and using the same restroom," said parent Amanda Wolfe. "I've cried and cried and cried. There's nothing else to say. It's discouraging and I don't understand." 

Diamond Miller is a 5th grader at the school. Her mom was among dozens checking their kids out of class on Tuesday. "They made us lean over bowls of cereal, and they wouldn't let us pick it up because they said we'd drop it and spill it and then the school would smell like milk."

Meanwhile, in 6th grade, student Jesse VanSickle said he was threatened with a suspension after refusing to use the girl's restroom. "I was wanting to be able to go in the boys bathroom and they told me no. I said well I'd rather just go home. And they said if you sit any longer, you'll be suspended."

Kimberly Nady has nieces at Collins Middle and an 8th grader now at Oak Hill High School. "She was going there next year anyway, but now there's no transition, just bam!"

The Fayette County Board of Education (was) holding an informational meeting at the Vocational School in Oak Hill on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Then on Wednesday, many parents plan to attend the state's Board of Education meeting at the Capitol at 10 a.m. And on Wednesday night, another meeting is planned for parents at Oak Hill High School.