Wake County Schools

Wake clergy hold prayer vigil on school assignment

Posted August 30, 2010 5:16 p.m. EDT
Updated August 30, 2010 10:55 p.m. EDT

— Clergy members in Raleigh held a prayer vigil on Monday night in an effort to promote diversity in Wake County schools.

About 60 people attended the vigil at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church at 1801 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh.

The group said it was concerned by the Wake school board's decision to move away from its policy of assigning students to achieve socio-economic balance within the student body and toward one based on geographic zones.

"We continue this fight because it is a justice issue," said Rev. Nancy Petty, of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church.

Petty said the group was trying to stay organized in what they believe is a moral fight.

"We still have Wake County neighborhoods that are segregated, poor neighborhoods," Petty said.

"I am very honored to get all the prayer we can get. We can certainly use it," Wake County school board member John Tedesco told WRAL News on Monday.

Tedesco, who is the leading proponent of the neighborhood-schools model, said the public will help design the new model through input online and in upcoming forums.

Tedesco added that he values diversity too.

"We are going to do everything we can to give a rich, rewarding, educational experience to each and every child in Wake County," he said.

Earlier Monday, nearly a dozen clergy members met at Martin Street Baptist Church in Raleigh to discuss the assignment policy. 

Petty and North Carolina NAACP President William Barber were among the attendees. Both have been arrested twice at Wake County school board meetings.

The NAACP has been an outspoken critic of the Wake school board's decision. Barber has said that legal action against the school system might be necessary.