POSTED: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - 6:18pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 3:45pm
CENTRAL, La (NBC33) — Eighth grader Ramey Payne hates to go to school.
"It makes me not want to go to school anymore," she said.
She feels like a prisoner every time she walks through the doors of Central Middle School.
"I used to love to go to school. I used to love to see my friends. I used to love to see my teachers, but now we just can't interact. Why would I want to go there anymore?” Payne said.
She and her mother Dianna say from the time she and other students get on the bus to the time they leave nine and a half hours later students are barely allowed to even open their mouths.
"Many of the buses don't allow them to speak from the time they are picked up in the morning, the entire ride home. They get to school, they're not allowed to speak as they go into school," says Dianna Payne.
And while they can talk in class if called upon, it all changes once the bell rings.
"When they're finished with a class they're taken from one class to the next class on a line that's on the floor and they're escorted by a teacher. They're told to remain completely silent," says Dianna Payne.
I asked about the policy at the school. District Superintendent Michael Faulk wouldn’t sit down for an interview, but would only say: "It's a board policy and the district is following the policy that the board has set."
But Dianna feels the district is more interested in enforcing the policies and less focused on its students.
"When you take away individuals' students' rights to be able to express themselves in a creative way. You're taking away the very rights that we have been fighting for for 240 years. These are rights. They don't stop just because you're a student. They don't stop when you walk through the doors of the school," says Dianna Payne.
And Dianna isn’t alone. More than 100 have joined her private Facebook page to protest how the school district is treating its students.
"This is not about my daughter. This is about all of our daughters, all of our sons. This is about parents who feel that the school is overstepping our parental rights to teach our children what is appropriate and what isn’t inappropriate," says Dianne Payne.