Education

Wake group holds vigil on school diversity

Posted March 22, 2010
Updated March 23, 2010

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— A group opposed to the Wake County Board of Education's plans to end the school system's long-standing diversity policy held a candlelight vigil in protest Monday evening.

Wake school board opponents hold vigil  Wake school board opponents hold vigil

The vigil at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 E. Martin St., Raleigh comes on the eve of the school board's second and final vote on an assignment model in which students go to schools within a certain community zone. The plan in place now buses students across the school district to help achieve socio-economic diversity, where no school has more than 40 percent of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches.

Around 300 people packed into the church Monday to express their concerns with the neighborhood schools resolution.

"My desire is for the school board to slow down (and) to review,” mother Lisa Scales said.

But despite calls from organizations, business leaders, parents and community members to reconsider the move, five of the school board's nine members have indicated that they support the community-based assignment plan.

"I am pretty proud of what we are doing,” board member Chris Malone said Monday.

Malone, who was elected during last year's general election, says the current busing policy is not working.

"There are kids out there who are not succeeding right now,” Malone said.

Opponents say changing the current plan in favor of neighborhood schools would disrupt diversity at schools.

"It is really encouraging to see so many people out here supporting what I think is a good cause,” board member Keith Sutton said Monday at the vigil.

The Wake County Clergy Coalition helped organize the vigil. As part of the coalition's efforts, more than 20 ministers, priests and rabbis signed a petition calling on the board to postpone Tuesday's vote.

“To implore all of our moral, political and legal means that are at our disposal to stop what is being planned in Wake County,” Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, said of the coalition's plans.

School board members, however, insisted that they have no plans to segregate students and that student achievement is their top priority.

"If all we are going to get is push back on everything that we do, and basically a big no, then we are left to our own devices to do it our way,” Malone said.

The school board’s final vote Tuesday would direct a student assignment committee to take input and create a plan for community assignment zones over the next nine to 15 months.

With a large attendance expected at Tuesday's meeting, the school system announced that tickets will be issued to citizens wishing to attend. A ticket will guarantee a seat in the boardroom available to the public.

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  • NCAries Mar 23, 2010

    You can live wherever you like.
    yellow_hat

    You can live wherever you can afford, like it or not.

  • bombayrunner Mar 23, 2010

    My daughter commuted 3hrs a day. She was exhausted coming home and still had to do HW and couldn't be on any teams. I am all for community schools. I saw how it affected her. Yes, we are a minority. We live in a nice community w/ every ethnic group around us. Its up to the parents to help eradicate rasism. Parents need to take the responsiblity to raise your child lovingly no matter the race. Always putting the responsiblity on the teachers and schools to parent YOUR child. Get over it and go back to normalcy of neighborhood schools. Do your job as a parent. Be involved with your child and the school. Communicate with their teachers. Grow up!! and Parents please teach your children well.

  • mrschizzy Mar 23, 2010

    seankelly - if 25% of the people turned out to vote, then those are the people who cared enough to make their voices heard. So yes, their voices should be heard over the 75% of the people who didn't care enough to come out and vote. Our elected officials can't read minds, the way for the people to speak is to speak at the ballot box. Unfortunately for them, 75% chose not too. Sorry for them, but the people on the school board now have a responsibility to thes ones that actually elected them and they can't worry about the ones who didn't make their voices heard when it counted. Screaming after the fact doesn't get anywhere. Next time, of that 75% who didn't vote and feel they are not being "heard" need to get off their duffs and vote!

  • Remy Mar 23, 2010

    Now community schools is the game- If you don't move you go to the same school- how about that- You got what you wanted and didn't realize it. ncguy

    Unfortunately, you do not know this anymore than the board knows it. New schools will eventually be built, new neighborhoods will pop up, etc, etc, etc. It is all a guess at this point.

    Anyone who says this will happen if we do that, or vise versa is just making a guess no matter if we are talking about diversity, bussing, school start times, etc. It is all conjecture.

  • ncguy Mar 23, 2010

    superman said My grandson is in the 4 grade and so far he has attended 3 different schools-- enough is enough-- just leave things alone. We have have more than enough reassignments.

    Why is that sir? because they have to shift kids around to accomodate diversity and illegals.
    Now community schools is the game- If you don't move you go to the same school- how about that-
    You got what you wanted and didn't realize it.

    I say Yea for community school- it just makes sense.

  • rescuefan Mar 23, 2010

    I can't wait to hear the outcry from the "neighborhood schools" crowd when their kids will have to be reassigned because their upper middle class school is over capacity. But of course, the new school board majority hasn't even bothered to research that part of their "plan" to appease the vocal minority.

  • yellow_hat Mar 23, 2010

    "In my neighborhood of about 40 houses everyone is white. No Hispanics, no blacks, no chinese."

    You are a racist. You need to move, or provide funding to the less fortunate to allow them to be able to live in your neighborhood.

    I have Whites, Blacks, Asians, Middle Eastern Muslims, Hispanics, Asia Indians, and more in my neighborhood, and I want neighborhood schools.

  • mrschizzy Mar 23, 2010

    I went to a neighborhood school in the 1980's and 1990's when I was in grade school. It was right down the road from me. I wasn't on a bus for an hour just to get to school and another hour just to get home. I turned out okay, I'm not a racist or bigoted person. Exposing kids to more diversity can be done without the school, and a lot of it has to do with the attitudes of the parents and other adults children are around. Putting them in a so-called "diverse" school is not necessarily going to stop them from having a racist or bigoted attitude if that is what they are being taught at home and in their social circles outside of school.

  • Desiderata Mar 23, 2010

    Agree with Tired of Excuses...some people just don't have a life!

  • superman Mar 23, 2010

    Does this new policy mean that thousands of students will be reassigned? You think that is good? Students will be assigned when new schools are open. In my neighborhood of about 40 houses everyone is white. No Hispanics, no blacks, no chinese. If they end diversity-- how many students will have to be reassigned because they have a school closer than the one they are now attending? Does changing the policy really mean that there is going to be a signifance difference if school assignment? My grandson is in the 4 grade and so far he has attended 3 different schools-- enough is enough-- just leave things alone. We have have more than enough reassignments.

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