Trophies found in the trash rile up Bridgeport parents

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on January 6, 2012 at 12:02 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 6 at 7:59 PM

BRIDGEPORT - Bridgeport Middle School students earn a lot of trophies, especially for math and science. Right now they're stacked in boxes in a storage closet.

This week, the principal gave the okay to throw several trophies in the trash. It made someone mad enough to photograph them and post the pictures on a blog.

"And to see them in the dumpster makes me sick," said parent Carroll Wolfe. "It's a small-minded person that would do that."

Wolfe said her daughter earned a state math trophy several years ago.

Other parents are plenty mad, too.

"That's just like telling those kids what they did doesn't mean anything, to the district or anybody, because the trophies got thrown away," said parent Alicia James.

But principal Travis Whisenant said the trophies were primarily for sports, and many were damaged.

"Those were trophies that were very dated and irreparably damaged," Whisenant said.

The school was in the process of moving trophies to new cases in the auditorium, to free up space in the hallway display cases to show off classroom work, according to Whisenant.

School officials say they checked the dumpsters Thursday afternoon after learning of parents' concerns and found no trophies. But later that evening, some students and parents plunged into the garbage.

They say they came up with 46 trophies, almost all in good condition, and only one for sports. The rest were academic awards.

Carroll Wolfe and some other parents believe the trophies were trashed as retribution against a long-time teacher who left the district recently with an undisclosed settlement.

Bridgeport Superintendent Eddie Bland says that's absolutely false, but said he's sorry for offending anyone by throwing away hard-earned awards.

"I extend my most humble apology, because that was never the intent," Bland said.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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