Durham clergy criticize Wake school assignment policy

Posted July 2, 2010 12:50 p.m. EDT
Updated July 2, 2010 1:06 p.m. EDT

— Members of the clergy in Durham gathered Friday to speak out against recent decisions involving Wake County schools.

The group said the Wake County Board of Education is heading in the wrong direction by changing its student assignment policy.

The board recently scrapped its long-standing policy to assign students so schools didn't have more than 40 percent of their enrollment receiving free or reduced-price lunches. Instead of using socio-economic diversity to determine school assignments, the board is crafting a plan to keep students in schools closer to where they live.

Forty-six clergy members from Durham and three from Chapel Hill signed a statement condemning the shift. Members of the group said it was important to take a stand against what they view as injustice.

"We are not limited by geographical boundaries, and as people of faith, we think that there's enough evidence that shows that the policy directions of the Wake County school board are heading in the wrong direction," said the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, of Covenant Presbyterian Church.

The group members also noted that members of their congregations are from Wake County.

Some said they plan to join a rally planned for July 20 in Wake County to protest the school board's moves.