A pressing issue arises at county school board meeting

Members in the Leon County community gathered in the Aquilina Howell Building this past Tuesday for the monthly Leon County School Board meeting. 

The Leon County school board is comprised of elected officials who are residents of the school district, including the Superintendent of Leon County Schools. They make important decisions that help create the vision for the schools in the county that reflect every person in the community. 

The meeting began with the pledge of allegiance and “thought for the day” from two students who attend Ruediger Elementary School and continued in the order of the agenda. 

Item six on the agenda titled ‘persons to be heard’ gave members of the community an opportunity to be vocal on issues affecting them. 

Of the people represented in the persons to be heard, a parent of a student who plays for Lincoln High School’s football team raised her concern with the implicit bias of the recent suspension of Lincoln’s head coach, due to the f-word used during the players’ pre-game chant. 

The Superintendent stated that he has a zero-tolerance policy for behavior such as profanity. If instances like these do happen then action should be taken. 

Leon County School Board members photographed from left to right:
District 5- Georgia “Joy” Bowen, District 1 – Alva Striplin, District 2 – Rosanne Wood (Chair), District 3 – Darryl Jones, District 4 DeeDee Rasmussen (Vice-Chair), and Superintendent Rocky Hanna
Photo courtesy of Leonschools.net

“These coaches have players who refer to other school’s players as the n-word and are not being held to the same standard,” an anonymous source said. 

FAMU faculty member and parent, Karen Miller, chimed in on why she is speaking out. 

“If we have leadership with implicit bias, it trickles down to the staff and students,” Miller said. She continued to say, “We’re hoping this can allow us to have a civil dialogue about what we believe needs to happen.” 

The Superintendent stated that it’s important to hear the stories and concerns of those in our community, but we must be willing to hear every side of the story. 

Item 23 on the agenda titled ‘continuing concerns from board members’, sparked more discussion on the concern raised earlier, which showed the board member’s opposing views. 

“I implore the board to not take an issue such as this lightly,” 2019-2020 student school board member Apurva Srivastava, said. 

With closing remarks, the school board can agree with community members that this is an issue that must be changed. 

Board member Darryl Jones, 2018-2020, stated that racism can persist through both policy, leadership, and authority. He continued to say that as board members, they should desire to provide the opportunity to be the golden standard as this is a continuing concern.