Parents upset about school teacher's 'The Bachelor' participation
By Christopher Rocchio, 04/19/2007
One of the reasons The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman star Andy Baldwin has kept suitor Amber Alchalabi around as one of his nine remaining bachelorettes is because she's good with children and he's looking to start a family.
Now it appears the 23-year-old fourth-grade teacher from Sugar Land, TX is in hot water for leaving her class when they needed her the most as well as not being honest about why she left.
Several parents of students in Alchalabi's fourth-grade class at Colony Bend Elementary School have expressed their displeasure that the teacher misled them as to why she was taking a month off, Houston's KHOU-TV television station reported Thursday. In addition to reportedly telling the school's principal she took a month off to "care for a sick aunt" instead of coming clean about traveling to Los Angeles to film The Bachelor's tenth installment, she also was away during an important time in her students' academic year.
"They were in the middle of studying for the [Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS)] test. While she was gone they took their writing TAKS test," fourth-grade parent Raquel Flores told KHOU.
Fellow parent Lesley White said "kids are being exploited" so Alchalabi could try to find true love on The Bachelor. According to KHOU, administrators from Fort Bend Independent School District were apparently unaware about Alchalabi's absence during TAKS testing, although the principal signed-off on her leave and a substitute was brought in.
Amber Alchalabi dances with The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman star Andy Baldwin during the ABC reality show's initial cocktail reception (Photo credit ABC/Adam Larkey)
Parents are also upset that the show -- in a move that woud seem to indicate Alchalabi will make it to The Bachelor's traditional "hometown visits" -- reportedly sent a film crew to Colony Bend to shoot scenes at the school.
"I am incensed," White told KHOU. "[The Bachelor] is not appropriate whatsoever for 9 and 10-year-old children."
Following complaints from parents, the district launched an investigation.
"We believe the parents have some legitimate concerns," Mary Ann Simpson, spokeswoman for Fort Bend Independent School Department, told KHOU. "We don't believe any ill intent was ever intended here but we're certainly going to investigate it because we don't want anything like this to ever happen again."
In her defense, Alchalabi said she couldn't reveal the real reason why she was taking a leave of absence due to the confidentially agreement she signed with ABC.
"I cherish my position at Colony Bend Elementary School, holding it with the utmost degree of professionalism and integrity" Alchalabi wrote in an e-mail to KHOU on Wednesday. "I apologize if my participation in The Bachelor created any issues or upset for the parents or my students, all of whom I adore."