In the Classroom, Out of Pocket: The Underlying Problem at Horry County Schools


HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Some teachers in Horry County aren’t willing to point out problems because they say they’re afraid to speak up.

“One of the core principles, I think, behind the success of an organization is being aware of what your stakeholders think and seeking their input,” said Dr. Rick Maxey, superintendent of Horry County Schools. “We certainly do that; we do that.”

Maxey made it clear to WMBF News he wants to hear from teachers. He said the district can’t fix problems it doesn’t know about.

But some responses to WMBF’s survey might give an indication as to why he’s unaware teachers are buying food, cleaning supplies and teaching materials when they may not need to.

Aynor Middle School Teacher:

They will fire us.

Ocean Bay Middle School Teacher:

No way. The district would find out and fire me. We aren’t allowed to say anything HONEST about HCSD

Of the 79 survey responses from Horry County teachers, 25 were anonymous.

North Myrtle Beach High School Teacher:

I don’t want to risk being identified

“I would say that it is a common thing that has been going on for decades in education,” Maxey said when presented with these responses. “It doesn’t surprise me that some people have that feeling, but I think that if they will just simply seize the opportunity to professionally express themselves, that that feeling would go away.

“I don’t know where that comes from because I can just speak from my own experiences, and I can say that when I was a classroom teacher in Horry County Schools I never felt afraid to express my opinion at faculty meetings or to the principal. When I was a principal I never felt afraid to express my concerns to the district supervisory staff. I think the most important thing to understand is that people have a right to express their opinions, and when we have a professional environment where people can speak their minds and an avenue to do that, they should feel free to do that.

“Obviously there are appropriate ways to do it. I think that if we have folks that have that feeling, I would like to see that change because you’re not in danger of losing your job simply by expressing your opinion.”

Maxey said the district is open to constructive criticism. He added teachers should reach out to their teacher cabinet representatives. That group has a direct line to the superintendent’s office.

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