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Citing the 2010 Wake County school board protests for doing the "Moral Monday" protests

Another round of "Moral Monday" protests are on tap today as the state NAACP continues its weekly protests at the General Assembly.

In a pair of articles Friday, the Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, and Yvonne Brannon, head of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition, cite the 2010 Wake County school board protests as being successful forerunners of the current protests.

In Friday's Associated Press article, Barber says doubters of the effectiveness of the current protests should look to what happened when they fought the student assignment efforts of the former Republican school board majority in Wake.

General Assembly protests mirror tactics used against Wake County school board

Will the tactics that the Rev. William Barber used against the Wake County school board have a similar impact on the North Carolina General Assembly?

Barber, president of the state NAACP, blocked the doors to the state Senate chambers last Monday, leading to his arrest along with 16 other activists. Barber says there will be more protests tonight at the General Assembly with the possibility of more arrests.

Barber is critical of the GOP legislative majority's support of Voter ID, not expanding Medicaid coverage, narrowing the eligibility for the state's pre-kindergarten program and a variety of other issues.

Barber's launched similar protests and acts of civil disobedience in 2010 against the former GOP school board majority in Wake. The protests were cited, conveniently in some cases by people who supported the actions, to argue during the 2011 elections that the board majority had made the district a source of national ridicule.

John Tedesco and June Atkinson argue over neighborhood schools in race for state schools superintendent

The Wake County student assignment fight is becoming part of the last-minute fight in the battle over state schools superintendent

As noted in today's article by Lynn Bonner, Wake County school board member John Tedesco sent out this controversial email Monday to supporters that includes some claims that incumbent June Atkinson says are false. The most contentious is Tedesco's charge, which Atkinson denies, that she's "using your public funds to pay groups like Rev. Barber's NAACP to work for her campaign."

But this post will focus more on the student assignment fight, including referencing back to the Oct. 15 candidate forum sponsored by WakeUP Wake County and the League of Women Voters of Wake County.

1351591264 John Tedesco and June Atkinson argue over neighborhood schools in race for state schools superintendent The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

NAACP reacts to Wake County school board's vote in favor of student assignment directive

The state NAACP is praising the Wake County school board's Democratic majority for passing the student assignment directive.

In a press release today, the NAACP praises the board majority as being "patient, deliberate and civil." It adds that the NAACP "regards this critical conversation as long overdue."

"At each step we have urged policy makers that decisions regarding the future of Wake County's children must be made based on empirical data and sound research rather than premeditated right-wing ideology and electoral ambition," according the press release from the Rev. William Barber and Tim Tyson. "We hope that as the new plan is developed, all decisions will be grounded in the best research available and the best interests of children and families."

The rest of the press release criticizes how Wake implemented the choice pan and restates the NAACP's thoughts that one element of any new assignment plan should be to "stop the trend toward re-segregation and promote school and classroom diversity."

Calla Wright charging that Wake County school board vice chairman Keith Sutton has "sold us out"

Calla Wright, president of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children, is accusing Wake County school board vice chairman Keith Sutton of selling out and says he should be voted out.

Sutton's offense, according to an email sent Thursday by Wright to the CCCAAC listserv, is that "he is so consumed with Western Wake County." She also copied the message to Yevonne Brannon, chairwoman of the Great Schools in Wake Coalition, and state NAACP President the Rev. William Barber.

"Rev. Barber needs to know that Keith Sutton has sold us OUT!" Wright writes. "Will we vote Sutton out of office since he is so consumed with Western Wake County? I cannot believe he ran as a democrat and perhaps he needs to change his party affiliation! I am sure ALLISON BACKHOUSE will vote for him!  How much is he being paid??"

1338565681 Calla Wright charging that Wake County school board vice chairman Keith Sutton has "sold us out" The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Looking at the email exchanges of Wake County school board members

Email records show a high degree of behind-the-scenes tension during the first two months of the new Wake County school board.

Board members were complaining about each other and staff in the email exchanges. The emails, part of a public records request, covered messages sent by board members to each other and to Superintendent Tony Tata between Dec. 6-Jan. 25.

I'm off the rest of the week and won't be updating the blog or responding to questions. But I'm sure you guys will be kept busy by reading and commenting on the emails.

Ron Margiotta criticizes plea deals given to Wake County school board protesters

Former Wake County school board chairman Ron Margiotta is not happy with the plea deals that were reached with the Rev. William Barber and the other people who were arrested at school board meetings.

In an interview Monday on the Bill LuMaye Show on WPTF, Margiotta said he agrees with requiring the protesters to perform community service but is against having the charges dismissed when they complete the work. He said he wished the protesters had been fined to repay the security costs at school board meetings.

"It was a matter of our District Attorney just wanting to not push too hard on the issue," Margiotta said. "I think it's that simple."

The Rev. William Barber at today's Wake County school board meeting

The Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, is at today's Wake County school board meeting.

Barber had been barred from attending school board meetings as a result of his arrest on trespassing charges at board meetings in 2010. Barber pleaded guilty to the charges on Friday as part of a plea deal that will allow him to get the charges dismissed if he performs 40 hours of community service over the next six months.

It's unclear whether Barber has permission to be at the meeting since the District Attorney's Office said the trespassing notice is still technically in effect until the charges are dismissed. But the board could have opted on its own to waive the trespass notices.

Even before the charges were adjudicated, Barber and other protesters could attend board meetings if they submitted a letter in writing saying they promised to follow board rules. They didn't exercise that option before.

UPDATE

The Rev. Nancy Petty, pastor of Raleigh's Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, and Middle Creek High student Seth Keel are also at the meeting. They had also been trespassed and pleaded guilty Friday.

Barber said the trespass notices ended once they pleaded guilty. He said he and ther others will be reglarly back at the board meetings to monitor things.

Barber, Petty and Keel are getting hugged and congratulated by members of the audience.

Wake County school board protesters say they're proud of their actions

If the idea of prosecution is to deter people from committing an offense again, it doesn't look like that's happening for at least some of the people who pleaded guilty on Friday to disrupting Wake County school board meetings in 2010.

As noted in today's article, protesters who spoke to the media after entering guilty pleas were defiant. They said they were proud of their actions and would be prepared to be arrested again if they don't like how the new school board or future boards are acting.

"We now are able to go back to the school board to speak again," said the Rev. Nancy Petty, pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. "And if we sense that they're  headed off as the old board did, we will follow our conscience again and we will do what is necessary to protect our children and to keep our community involved in this conversation."

Twenty-one people enter guilty pleas in Wake County school board protest cases

Here's a quick recap from today's court proceedings in which 21 people pleaded guilty to disrupting Wake County school board meetings in 2010.

The protesters will perform 40 hours of community service such as working in food banks and soup kitchens and pay $430 in fees. If they complete the work in the next six months, the charges will be dismissed. They can ask to have the charges expunged.

Although he entered a guilty plea, the Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, still remained defiant. He pointed to last fall's school board elections as a sign they were doing what was right.

"We’re guilty of standing up for righteousness,” Barber said at a press conference where he was joined by the Rev. Nancy Petty, the Rev. Curtis Gatewood and Dante Strobino.

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