Support arguments with facts

Published 11:19pm Friday, October 14, 2011

Dear editor,

During the 1988 presidential primary campaign, the Rev. Jesse Jackson told the following humorous story: President Ronald Reagan and I went fishing one day. While we were in the boat, a strong wind blew the president’s hat off of his head. I politely stepped out of the boat, walked out across the water and retrieved it. I put it on the president’s head completely dry. The headline in the next day’s newspaper read, “Jesse Can’t Swim!!!”

Internet access has made it possible for almost anybody to reach out and touch people all over the world with our opinions, however void of truth they may be. The rapid emergence of self-proclaimed cognoscenti of every issue that affects us has produced a deluge of talk shows, blogs, tweets, and other forms of obnoxious offerings to sway us to buy whatever is being peddled.

I listened to a radio talk show on Friday that was inundated with innuendo, conjecture, and downright lies. Several callers lambasted two Selma City School Board members for joining the lone white board member in his chastisement of the superintendent of schools. Perhaps it is because of their lack of information relative to the material facts. Trusting that the station manager, the Rev. Franklin Fortier, will do the right thing, I requested that he investigate to find out what the facts are.

A former employee of the Selma City Schools, who happens to be African American like the superintendent, was notified that her contract would not be renewed. Whether her job performance warranted that decision by the superintendent is not the issue. The real concern by a majority of the school board members is whether the superintendent followed established policy and procedures in terminating the employee, to ensure due process for that individual.

When the board meeting was over, I questioned Mr. Powell about the public rebuke of the superintendent. I was told that all discussions about the superintendent’s performance must be done in a public forum.

Had the president of the school board employed the several tools available to him in Robert’s Rules of Order, there would not have been a vote on the letter of reprimand during the July 25th meeting.

If it is fact that the superintendent acted in a way that denied due process to the former employee, thereby putting the board in jeopardy of a possible lawsuit, the board should have addressed that. However, they must ensure that they do not violate his due process by their actions. I hope that it doesn’t cost Selma taxpayers another $500,000 to settle the issue.

Attorney Faya Rose Toure gave excellent advice to a talk show host on the same station today. She told him to be sure that he can back up his claims relative to a lawsuit with facts. Veracity must spring forth as an ever-flowing stream during our verbose rants about the issues that affect us.

Bishop Joseph Rembert


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