It has truly been an honor to serve as the District 2 representative on the Edgecombe County Board of Education for the past four years. As the time approaches for my departure from the Board and the inquiries and requests regarding the prospect that I might remain have been mounting, I decided to write this open letter to you and hope that it will prove insightful to those who may be having trouble understanding why I feel so strongly that at this time, I must step aside.
As reported in February of 2011 in our local newspaper, I resigned due to personal/career conflicts and commitments. I am an attorney and although it is certainly true that my practice has changed significantly since I was first appointed to the Board in 2007, I will candidly tell you that the overriding issue that led to my decision to submit my resignation was the decision to send my child back to private Christian school this year and the fact that it is still uncertain where she will be in school next year. Some of you may be aware that at the time this position became available in 2007, my child was enrolled in private Christian school. What some of you may not know is that she started public school as soon as it started in August of 2007 and she spent three of my now four years on the Board in our system. I do not have any regrets regarding our decision to move her this year and in fact I am so very thankful to God that we did. You see, my father passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago and I know for a fact that a return to her daily Bible classes and weekly chapel services this school year have helped her in dealing with this tremendous loss.
While I recognize that there is no legal impediment to my serving as a public school board member with a child in a private Christian school, I believe that I am out of order serving in this capacity without knowing the will of the majority of my constituents on the issue. Although I know that some of you can appreciate that decisions about what is best for a child not only involve considerations regarding a certain school or a school district but considerations about the needs of a child at a particular time, there are plenty of others I am sure who reasonably think that while a person holds a seat on a public school board, their children should be enrolled in that school system and who can blame them for this way of thinking.
Please do not take my decision to step down at this time as an indication that I will withdraw from service to the school system or even service as a school board member, on a permanent basis. Instead, however, I believe the proper thing for me to do if I desire to resume serving on the board is to run for election; inform the voters that I have a school-aged child who may be between both the public school system and the private Christian school system and let the voters decide if they still want me to serve them.
I have been always been taught not to think too highly of myself and I have taken hold of that teaching. While I recognize that I am blessed to be in a unique position to be able to help move this district forward, that does not change the fact that I need to do things proper and in order and in the same way that someone else who may not have such favor as has been bestowed upon me would need to do things.
Changing or modifying positions on matters and principles like the wind depending upon “who is involved” is in my opinion one of the greatest barriers we have to moving this school system forward. I have witnessed this in action from the school house doors to the central office doors and if I do not hold fast and firm to my principles on this issue at a time when I am the one “who is involved,” I will be doing the exact same thing that I have stood against for the past four years. The upcoming appointment is for one school year only, then there will be an election. There is too much at risk and not enough to be gained from my backtracking on my decision now. Perhaps now you have a better understanding why I cannot do that. Thank you.
Note: I truly appreciate Atty. Bryant for staying true to her word. Although I would love to see her reconsider resigning I must accept her stand on this issue. I understand where she is coming from and yes she could feel more confortable by possibly campaigning for the seat in 2012 by running based on if she has a child in the system or not. Curmilus Dancy II – DCN Publisher
Saturday, May 14, 2011 5:05 PM
Letter to editor:
Edgecombe County Public Schools District 2 Appointment
I read The Daily Southerner Friday, May 13, 2011 edition and I take interest in Thomas W. “Brownie” Edison white male wanting to be appointed to fill the unexpired term of Attorney Teresa D. Bryant District 2 who recently announced her resignation. It is nothing personal against Edison because I don’t know him. However, I am glad to know he has children in the system and I have spoken out about some board members not having a child in the system. But just having a child in the system is just one of my many pet peeves.
District 2 is a black majority based district by law so therefore it would be politically correct to appoint another black person to fill the slot. This is something that Edison may not know and/or he may not care. But it is what it is. I don’t have a problem with a white person running to be elected but I do have a serious problem with a white person being appointed.
The board is a 4 – 3 white majority however the county population reflects a 4 – 3 black majority. Bryant will not be able to vote so therefore it will be a 4 – 2 white majority when it comes time for the appointment.
I find it kind of ironic that districts 1, 2 and 3 representatives are black and districts 4, 5, 6 and 7 are white. However, I believe that districts 6 and 7 are nearly equally populated black to white.
During the ECPS monthly board meeting on Monday, May 9, 2011 during public comments I made a request to Bryant to reconsider not resigning. It is funny how the public comments were not mentioned in The Daily Southerner’s report by Jamica Ashley. Why? Because in my opinion Terry Smith is and has been a voice for the Edgecombe County Public Schools white board members for many years.
So I am asking those who live in district 2 to please contact Bryant and ask her to reconsider not resigning from the board at this time. One of her reasons for resigning is because she will not have a child in the school system. Well the majority of the board members today do not have a child in the system.
Bryant brings a whole new perspective to the board. She has been a school board attorney so therefore she is a valuable asset to the board and the community. She serves on the policy council and if the policies are in order then it will eliminate a lot of mess.
I say to everyone in district 2 and all persons in Edgecombe County to contact Bryant and ask her to reconsider not resigning from the board. Bryant needs to stay on board because we are in crucial times with the budget cuts and the tension within the system among staff.
Curmilus Dancy II
Attorney Teresa D. Bryant