Things definitely got heated at Wednesday night's forum looking into allegations of racial discrimination by the Wake County school system.
As noted in today's article by Thomas Goldsmith, speakers used terms like "white supremacy" and going "back to the back of the bus" to describe the move toward neighborhood schools in Wake.
“They are being introduced to blatant white supremacy in the Wake County school system,” said parent Darryl Fulton about what his four children are facing with the end of the diversity policy.
Doris Burke, a retired Wake teacher, also used loaded words during her comments. Burke unsuccessfully ran against Rosa Gill for the school board in 1999 and applied for her vacancy in 2009.
“We will not and shall not go back to the back of the bus and that seems like what they are trying to do with our children," Burke said.
The hearing, which was organized by the complainants at the request of federal investigators, consisted mainly of supporter of the diversity policy. But some opponents spoke as well.
Joe Ciulla, a leader of the Wake Schools Community Alliance, told the panel that many of the issues before them long predated the tenure of the present board. Ciulla said the new board won its right to run the system based on votes from parents frustrated about frequent reassignment of their own children and their perceptions that the busing-based diversity policy wasn’t working for low-income children.
“None of this is new,” Ciulla said. “A majority of the people who voted in that election wanted to send their children closer to home.”
Jennifer Mansfield, another WSCA leader, questioned the timing of the complaint.
“We already had racially identifiable schools, and nobody complained about them,” Mansfield said. “It’s not as though the new school board came in and automatically did these things.”
Deborah Prickett and Keith Sutton were the only school board members at the meeting.