Blog: OCR Public Meeting
Posted May 4, 2011 7:33 p.m. EDT
Updated May 4, 2011 8:09 p.m. EDT
NAACP President Speaks at OCR Public Hearing:
The Office for Civil Rights public hearing began Wednesday night with OCR members telling the crowd that they traveled to Raleigh to hear from the public, but not to respond during the meeting. Citizens were asked to sign up to speak before the meeting. Many of the speakers argued that because many Wake County neighborhoods are segregated, they believe a neighborhood schools assignment policy would resegregate schools.
North Carolina NAACP president Rev. William Barber stepped to microphone and told the group that getting rid of the previous student assignment policy was a big mistake. Barber said, "This majority of the school board came in and dismantled a nationally recognized, successful plan without a plan." He went on to say, "The board came up with their own ideas and ignored solid research."
Barber pointed to the newly created Walnut Creek Elementary School. Under the new assignment policy he says the Walnut Creek student population will be almost 100% minority, with more than 80% on free or reduced lunch. In closing Barber added, " We don't have to guess what they (the school board) will do, we know what they will do, and we are trying to stop it."
Office for Civil Rights public hearing underway:
Members of the Federal Office for Civil Rights are in Raleigh Wednesday night listening to concerns from citizens about the Wake County School Board's student assignment policy.
The board's decision to do away with busing for diversity in favor of neighborhood schools sparked many heated debates. Among the loudest critics Rev. William Barber and the NAACP. The state branch filed a federal compliant with the Office for Civil Rights last summer.
The School Board has defended its actions saying student assignment changes were not racially motivated.
The Office for Civil Rights is now investigating and federal OCR members traveled from Washington DC to Raleigh as part of the investigation.
The public can sound off at Martin Street Baptist Church in Raleigh from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Wednesday night.
The site of the meeting has raised concern among some, including the school board attorney and board member John Tedesco who argue this is not a neutral, or impartial venue.
On Wednesday afternoon Tedesco told us, "It is a group of people brought together and hosted and even the speakers were screened by the plaintiffs in the case. That seems a little unfair to me."
Rev. William Barber says they simply provided a place for OCR members to listen and denies and bias in the location.