Members of the NAACP and other community leaders told the school board that members of the board should be held accountable for recent comments they’ve made, including Arthur Ravenel calling Superintendent Nancy McGinley a “bitch” and reportedly threatening her job and Nancy Cook’s comments regarding sterilizing unfit mothers earlier this year.
More than 40 visitors spoke in front of the board, at least half calling the comments by Ravenel and Cook outrageous and shameful.
“There was a time when you could do these things without reproach,” says Nelson Rivers with the NAACP. “Welcome back to the future.”
Comments also included resentment over other board decisions, including the use of the River Middle School by a charter school. Alonzo Washington said the district was neglecting it’s black students..
“You seem to want them in the street and to die in jail young,” he said.
The NAACP said it was presenting a petition signed by nearly 1,000 people calling for censure of Ravenel for his comments.
Facing the large number of speakers, board chairman Hillery Douglas limited comments to one minute, halving the normal time allowed for each speaker.
“It’s disgraceful that people come out to talk to you and you don’t give them enough time,” says local education advocate Jon Butzon. “I think you all have forgotten who you work for.”
Rivers also noted Douglas’ requirement that speakers not attack district staff or board members in their comments.
“I guess you have to join the board to do that.”
Ravenel, who recently spent a few days in the hospital for a bad reaction to medicine, was not at the meeting but teleconfrenced.