We can solve problems with cooperationPublished 9:44pm Friday, January 20, 2012
By Joe Rembert
I attended the Jan. 12 Selma City School Board meeting and found myself quite confused about some of the issues presented.
I was very disappointed in the antics and attacks of some members of the board and some citizens in the audience.
Mr. Holland Powell seemed to enjoy engaging members of the audience in verbal warfare. Some of the valid points that he made were marred by the insensitive way he chose to convey those points.
Dr. Ufomadu chose to take a parting shot at the three members of the board who voted to fire Dr. Jefferson. Mr. Chestnut retorted by blasting (implicitly) Dr. Ufomadu for writing articles in the newspaper that cast a negative light on the board. Dr. Ufomadu wanted to respond; but President Hicks requested that he wait until all board members had given their final comments. Dr. Ufomadu chose not to wait and stormed out of the meeting with a few rants to the applause of some members of the audience.
I commend Mr. Hicks for his efforts to keep order during a very contentious meeting. For a moment, it seemed that he and Mrs. Obomanu were the only adults on the board. The ladies, who were properly placed on the agenda, were resolute in their convictions and right in their conduct.
Despite the distractions, I could not ignore the issues that were brought up relative to the Selma Early College program. Dr. Ufomadu stated that he and other board members had benefitted from the program. It became apparent that children of well educated, upper and middle income parents were beneficiaries of a program that I thought was designed to help students from homes where parents had not gone to college. I have been told that not enough students were deemed eligible who were in the latter category. Perhaps more effort by parents, professors, preachers, potentates and other professionals, should be directed towards raising the level of academic excellence for at-risk students. On the surface, it appears that this program may be a new form of tracking.
I will check with school officials to try to determine who the beneficiaries of this program are. One parent stated that she would pay for her child’s tuition. If other parents, who are able, would do so, it would probably help solve the financial problems associated with the program.
The case of Dr. Donald Jefferson is now before the circuit court. There, a decision will be rendered based on law. It is my prayer that the good members of the Selma City School Board would reconvene and consider, without coercion from the foot soldiers and clandestine political operatives, to see if there is room for forgiveness and correction without imposing the most serious penalty.
To do so can only be accomplished through love. I salute all of the board members for offering yourselves to serve our children and community.