First of all I attended the Edgecombe County Public Schools board of education meeting on this past Monday night. During the transition from the public meeting and the break before they began the closed meeting, Evelyn Wilson was explaining to the Rocky Mount Telegram’s reporter a black female that she didn’t know what the D.A. Robert A. Evans was referring to because he had not been to a school board meeting. After listening to them I said, how do you know he was talking about ECPS and both of them walked over to where I was sitting. I said Evans used to sit on the Rocky Mount Charter School board and so did Leonard Wiggins whom Wilson named in her response.
It is my opinion that Evans has served on both sides of the fence whereby he has served on the Rocky Mount Charter School Board and in the courtroom. I am quite sure he is a parent as well, but I don’t know him personally so I am not going to attempt to speak for him. However he does a good job speaking for himself.
I find Evelyn Wilson’s response in defense of the Edgecombe County Public Schools to be quite interesting especially when I am an involved Negro and has been since the early 90’s however I am a product of the ECPS. I have a daughter that just graduated on this past Friday and I have a son who will be going to the middle school on next year.
I know the board objective should be to educate all children however Wilson and other board members are very much aware that there are some educators who does not give a damn about the children and/or they feel do not have the necessary skills. Administrators are removed from the classroom and sent to the central office from time to time. Some administrators are removed from certain schools and the list goes on. But the thing is the board of education never give a reason to the public why such moves. Unlike some folks I understand that it is a personnel issue.
Wilson you say parents do not need to spend a lot of time challenging the school system. Well Wilson I have had to challenge the system dating back to 1993 when a group of children who staged a walkout at SouthWest Edgecombe High School when a white coach grabbed a black student around the neck in the hallway. The white student body government President and other students protested. I received numerous calls the night before. I went to work at 5:00 am that morning and got off at 9:00 am and went to the school to help resolve this issue. I was the 1st vice president of the Rocky Mount NAACP during that time.
After the incident above I became a member of (P.I.E.) Partners in Education where the late Beverly May along with Katie Staton was the chair and co-chair. The group was able to get black males to volunteer to work in the school system running copies and doing other minor things. The goal was to have some black role models in the school since there was a shortage of black male teachers.
The principal at that time Lowell Thomas said I couldn’t volunteer nor T. C. Cherry former Highway Patrol and now currently an Edgecombe County Commissioner because we were both racist. I had responded to Cherry who had written an article in the Rocky Mount Telegram saying a local grocery store closed because black people were stealing merchandise.
One day Thomas and I had a deep discussion and he invited me to the cornfield (a racist term) and walked out of the school in front of me. The Rocky Mount NAACP where I served as the 1st Vice President asked for his resignation. Later the President Rev. Elbert Lee, Rev. Richard Joyner, Evelyn Wilson and some other black folks met with Thomas and nothing was done.
Wilson you say, “it is the business of Edgecombe County Public Schools to help students, not hurt them.” It should be and I trust that the majority of the administrators have that mentality.
I know that because of my challenge at South Edgecombe Middle School in a one year’s time frame 2 principals were moved to the Central Office. We later got principal number 3 who retired at the end of the year and then it was principal number 4 which was the first black principal in the schools history. But he was not ready however he had some racist administrators to deal with.
Well Wilson what in the hell do you think happened when principal number 1 at South Edgecombe Middle School tried to keep my daughter and several others from receiving the “A” honor roll several years ago at the end of the 6th grade school year. The “A” students received a trophy and my daughter was given the “B” honor roll. My wife and I spent countless hours during that summer learning how to do an excel spreadsheet. After exhausting all of our means and addressing the board of education that summer, it appeared we were not getting anywhere. But the good master laid the answer on us and at the beginning of the following school year South Edgecombe had to go back and have another ceremony not only to give my daughter her “A” and the trophy but they had to give others theirs as well.
The Superintendent of ECPS during that time found out that we had a problem with the grading system within the middle school. He found that if a child moved from one middle school in the county that their grades did not truly follow them. The middle schools were not truly using the SIMS system and were doing the grades by hand so they say. The system put something in place to take care of the problem.
I also challenged principal number 1 that same year when he got on the intercom and called all the black males to the auditorium to lecture them because he was trying to send a message that black males were at-risk. Well damn all of the males were not per say at risk. However hell all black folks are at-risk if you let some folks tell the story. What this principal did was unprofessional to single out all black males during the school day so what kind of message did that send to the white males, white females and the black females as it relates to black males as if they all were troublemakers. This principal had the audacity to communicate with me via emails and I still have them on file. How ignorant or maybe he just didn’t care.
Well Wilson what in the hell do you think happened when my daughter watched principal number 2 ban me from the school because I questioned the process used during the PTO election night and after the election when we went to the various classrooms to pick up report cards and to talk to the teachers? The principal followed me as we went to the classrooms. In one of my daughter’s classes I asked the teacher about an issue with a grade pertaining to a question on a test. The principal said okay Dancy leave. I said I have not done anything and so he said he was going to call the police. I said to call him. I went to the next class and my wife and daughter followed him to the office. I waited for the Sheriff Deputy to come while standing outside talking to the Pinetops Police who came out but could not act because it was out of his jurisdiction. The deputy asked us where was the principal and we said inside. When the deputy came back out he said the principal wanted me to leave. I said can I get a police report and he said it would not be one. I left the school and 2 days later I received a letter from the Superintendent that I was banned from the school. I recorded the election on video and presented this to the board. I was recording my daughter’s volleyball games at the time and basketball season was going to start afterwards. I gave the coaches a copy so they could view the video and learn from their mistakes. But remember I was banned from the school.
Principal number 2 administrators who served on the PTO and School Improvement Team where I was a member had a problem with me because I challenged them. They told him they had a problem with me because I had a talk show on a local radio station. What did they have to hide? I requested that the Central Office provide the administrators with diversity training and they did along with G.W. Carver Elementary School as well. You know they were mad with me about this.
Principal number 2 only stayed at the school from the beginning of the school year until December
Principal number 3 sent a letter to all of the administrators shortly after he arrived saying I was allowed back into the school because he did not see where I had done anything wrong.
So Wilson I beg the difference when you say, “Schools help – not hurt students.” That should be the final answer however that is not the case always. Well my friend the system hurt my daughter as well as my wife and I.
You also said, “the parents do not need to spend a lot of time challenging the system.” My wife and I had to challenge the system an entire summer. Hell we would have loved to spent that summer doing other things however it was all about justice, justice for my daughter and the others who benefitted.