Twelve-year-old’s tough decision reveals gap in after school care

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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – Basketball player or babysitter, that’s the decision one Limestone County 12-year-old feels she has to make. Her father says it’s not her fault and it’s revealing a gap in after school services.

Chad Turner is a single father of two, he works 12 hours a day at an industrial plant.

Turner’s daughter is on a basketball team and she practices at Clements High School. Her brother sits in on her practices while their dad is away.

“I’m just a working single parent, making a living for them,” Turner explained. “That’s all I’ve got right now to lean on is her to help me with him.”

But recently, her brother sitting in on practice has become an issue.

“She told me that she was told that it would be best if she wasn’t on the basketball team if she’s got to continue watching her little brother after school,” Turner added.

He said his daughter shouldn’t to have to choose between playing basketball team and being responsible for her brother.

“It would be nice to have an after school program for parents like me, single parents that’s working long hours,” Turner suggested.

No public school in the Limestone County School System has an extended day program.

Now Turner is challenging more parents to speak up about the need for after school care, especially for elementary students.

“I need other parents like me to come forward. So we can get a solution for all of us because I know it’s just not me, it’s not just my kids,” he explained. “I know I’m just not the only single parent out there is plenty more.”

Until he finds a solution, Turner said his daughter is his only help.

WHNT News 19 reached out to the Limestone County Board of Education.

Dr. Mark Isley, executive director of human resources, said the board had been in touch with Turner and offered him a solution.

Turner said he received a call from the principal of Clements High School. He was told his son could sit in the principal’s office while his sister practiced. The only stipulation was that the 8-year-old boy had to be picked up by 4 p.m.

Turner said the issue stands because often times his daughter’s practice times go beyond 4 p.m.