Education

What to expect Tuesday

Posted July 19, 2010 7:36 p.m. EDT
Updated July 21, 2010 2:46 p.m. EDT

Wake County Public School System

Here's a look at what you can expect leading up to and around the Wake County Board of Education's July 20, 2010, meeting, in which opponents protest the board's move away from busing students for a community-based student assignment plan.

- Leaders of the state NAACP and African Methodist Episcopal Zion Churches of the Eastern District are holding a mass demonstration against the Wake County Board of Education’s planned change to the student assignment policy – a change opponents believe will lead to resegregated schools.

- The rally begins at 10 a.m. with a march from the Raleigh Convention Center to the state Capitol, where opponents are expected to speak out against the student assignment policy.

- Speakers, including parents, pastors and representatives of advocacy groups, will address the crowd beginning at about 10:45 a.m. State NAACP President Rev. William Barber will conclude the remarks shortly before 11:30 a.m.

- The school board will meet at the school system's headquarters at 3600 Wake Forest Road in Raleigh, at 12:30 p.m. for its meeting of the committee of the whole.

- Seating vouchers will be available in the lobby at 3600 Wake Forest Road, beginning at noon.

- Supporters of the school board's policy plan to be at the meeting to show their support.

- The school board meeting will meet at 3 p.m. with a public comment period beginning at 4 p.m.

- Anyone wanting to speak can sign up to do so from 12:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the customer service counter on the first floor near the lobby of the school system headquarters. Those signed up for public comment will be called shortly before their turn to speak. Everyone will be afforded the opportunity to sign up for public comment, regardless of seating availability in the building.

- School board Chairman Ron Margiotta says the school system has hired off-duty police officers in anticipation of demonstrations Tuesday. The board is also consulting with Raleigh police about additional security.

- The move comes after its last meeting in which four people, including state NAACP President Rev. William Barger, brought the meeting to a standstill in protest of the student assignment policy.

- All four were arrested on trespassing charges. Last week, the school system sent them letters telling them they were not allowed on school property unless they provide written assurance that they will follow the board's rules of order.

- As of Friday, none of those arrested have provided that written assurance. In a statement, Barber wrote:

"Let them send us a thousand letters. What they need to do is send a letter of apology for wrecking the nationally acclaimed diversity policy and slowing the struggle to improve excellent educational opportunities for poor and minority children."

He continued:

"We will let the lawyers handle his [Margiotta's] threats and letters while we will keep speaking the truth in love and standing in our faith for justice. … The lawyers will work out our individual cases We have received no word from the courts about being banned. But beyond us personally we will invite those at our mass assembly to go in Mr. Margiotta's meetings and to raise our community message, certified by truth, justice, and equality.