Police remove six from Wake school board meeting

Posted August 10, 2010
Updated August 11, 2010

— Two teenagers were among six people arrested after they were removed from the Wake County Board of Education meeting during the public comments portion Tuesday.

Seth Byron Keel Six arrested at Aug. 10, 2010, meeting of Wake County Board of Education

The group was protesting the board's move away from the school system's current student assignment plan, which buses students in an effort to try to balance socio-economic diversity.

Seth Byron Keel, a 16-year-old junior at Middle Creek High School, spoke briefly from the podium in favor of the diversity policy.

"I am here today because diversity is important in my life,” Keel told the board.

As the buzzer rang to mark the end of the two-minute public comment limit, Board Chairman Ron Margiotta asked Keel to leave the podium. "I think not," Keel replied, adding, "I cannot in good conscience leave the podium."

A group of people surrounded him, locked arms and chanted in subdued voices, "What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now."

Around round of arrests at Wake schools meeting Another round of arrests at Wake schools meeting

Raleigh police moved from the back and sides of the room to the group, cuffed Keel, and walked the group out of the meeting room where they were arrested.

Each was charged with second-degree trespassing. They are: Keel, of 2431 Lullwater Drive in Raleigh; Samuel "Sam" Cole Matthews, 16, of 701 Valerie Drive in Raleigh; Graham Marshall Buckner, 18, of 2116 Windy Woods Drive in Raleigh; Gayle Santi Matthews, 47, of 701 Valerie Drive in Raleigh; Carolyn Veronica Billings, 71, of 3340 Harden Road in Raleigh; and Doris Hill Justice, 73, of 1209 Bishopton Way in Knightdale.

"I think it is a matter of social justice,” Billings said after her arrest.

Billings' daughter, Gayle Matthews and grandson, Sam Matthews, were among those also arrested.

"It is interesting to have three generations going to jail all together,” Sam Matthews said.

Some board members expressed their disappointment over the protests.

"I think that is just very sad, I see a young man like that and I don't know if he realizes what he is doing with his life and his record,” board member Deborah Prickett said of Keel's arrest.

"I am sorry it happened, they spoke well, and they mean well,” board members Anne McLaurin said.

The arrests are the latest in a series of confrontations between the board majority, which has moved toward assigning students based upon geography, and opponents who prefer the diversity-based assignment policy in place for the past decade.

Protesters say a change in the policy will lead to re-segregation in the school system, create pockets of poverty, and result in low-performing schools and high teacher turnover. Advocates neighborhood schools believe that option gives parents more choices for their children's schooling and opportunities to be more involved.

Three weeks ago, 19 people, including the Rev. William Barber, president of the state chapter of the NAACP, were arrested during a Wake school board meeting.


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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Aug 12, 2010

    "have any of you gone to a school cafeteria lately? The kids segregate themselves. I'd like to see how many minorities these kids that got arrested actually hang out with at school. They segregate themselves by education level also. I don't know of too many AP students hanging out with basic ed students regardless of color. All this busing does is increase class hatred. - jhpcarew"

    You are exactly right. It's natural for people to hang around those who are like themselves.

    Knowing that society won't integrate itself, the elite liberals decided to force integration in the schools using our kids to force society to integrate.

    This has been a failure which most people recognize except for the few die-hard elite liberals that believe they know better than the rest of us.

  • jlhpcarew Aug 12, 2010

    have any of you gone to a school cafeteria lately? The kids segregate themselves. I'd like to see how many minorities these kids that got arrested actually hang out with at school. They segregate themselves by education level also. I don't know of too many AP students hanging out with basic ed students regardless of color. All this busing does is increase class hatred. Maybe the message should be "get a good education, work hard, stay out of trouble and you too could have ....", not complain about what others have that you don't. It's a shame that these kids didn't know enough to understand what getting arrested meant. Wonder where the parents were!?

  • Bartmeister Aug 12, 2010

    Well I guess they showed the school board who's in charge!!!!! Bwahahahahaha! 16 years old, he was only doing it cause his Mom and Granny were doing it. Whatta joke.

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Aug 11, 2010

    From the comments this kid made during his 15 seconds of fame today I'd say it's clear, he has no idea why he was even arrested. Way to go Billy Jr.

  • lorivalentine1 Aug 11, 2010

    Seriously.. this is not even news any more. It is what it is... If the cities and towns are ok with building low income housing that impacts school diversity... then maybe they need to re-think their building requirements. Why is it ok to segregate so much low income housing in one area, so these people live, shop, go to church etc. in thier neighborhood but can not go to school together?!? I would think we might want to focus on limiting low income housing so as not to impact the diversity in all ways..

  • Roland K. Aug 11, 2010

    Delilah, stop writing in caps. it is highly annoying. like most of the posts on this blog. :)

  • North Carolina Home Aug 11, 2010

    Wonder how these three adults would feel if people protesting their waste of tax dollars showed up at their residence to protest? Bet they would find going about their daily business and responsibilities far more burdensome. Just like they are doing to the school board that was duly elected.

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Aug 11, 2010

    "... students speaking at school board meetings is that they have a huge stake in this."

    We all do, but it helps to understand what your standing up crying about, getting cuffed about and generating a police record for yourself about. The kid was crying for crying out loud, he knew he didn't want to be there, he knew he was creating something that will follow him for the rest of his life, he knew that those who made him do it are no better than the rev'rend and his ilk. It's all garbage and it's high time people like these stick their heads back in the sand. They are now going to have their opportunity to speak cut in half and they are to blame. We're still going to have neighborhood schools and all the police records in the state of P'due won't change that NOR will any interference from the legislature. Nice try status quo followers, but this has been over since the elections when the voters spoke loud and clear. It's past time for Wake County to be like the rest of the country!

  • North Carolina Home Aug 11, 2010

    August 11, 2010 3:28 p.m.

    I agree that it is nothing to brag about as I condemned their actions and called them what they are in my previous posts..... Democratic activists that now have given three minors a criminal record for their own self serving and pathetic desire for attention.

  • Not_So_Dumb Aug 11, 2010

    Jholla - was she eligible to vote? Does she live in one of the districts that was up for election?