Three African-American members of the Charleston County School Board said it’s time to put an end to the systemic segregation in the city’s school system.
Michael Miller, the Rev. Eric Mack, and the Rev. Chris Collins walked out of the nine-member board’s meeting, along with a group of parents, community activists, and civil rights leaders on Monday night, the Charleston Post and Courier reports.
The decision to close Lincoln Middle-High School triggered the protest. But the three board members and activists said the school closure was just the latest in a long history of neglecting schools in low-income Black areas.
“At a certain point, silence is consent,” Miller said in a press conference, according to the Post and Courier.
Several parents and alumni from Lincoln expressed their frustration over the lack of resources at the school, which caused some parents to enroll their children at other schools, the newspaper said.
Charles Maker, a 1984 Lincoln graduate, attested to the decades-long neglect and threats to shutter the school. According to the Post and Courier, Maker asked these questions to the six board members who sat for the meeting:
“What is a failing school? Why are only (schools with) predominately black students failing? Why has Lincoln been set up since 1954 to fail, and here we are in 2016 closing it?”
The newspaper said Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait stated at the meeting that the board closed Lincoln to give the few students still enrolled (about 100 in all) an opportunity to get a better education elsewhere. The low student population prevented the district from providing specialized courses, Postlewait explained.
After walking out, the three Black board members said they plan to propose a list of changes: reopening Lincoln, electing a new board chair, and hiring more Black teachers and principals.
SOURCES: Post and Courier | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter