Parents call on board to investigate

Published 8:44pm Friday, June 14, 2013

During Thursday’s Selma City School Board meeting a concerned parent presented a petition to the board — a petition she described as a public “expression of outrage,” over the vote by the majority of the board to not go forward with an independent investigation of the school system.

The vote for the investigation failed during a previous school board meeting on May 9. During that meeting, board president Henry Hicks said he called for an investigation because there had been so many allegations circulating about inappropriate behavior between teachers and students within the school system and it was time to discover the truth.

Hicks asked for the board’s full support in voting for the investigation, but when it came time for the vote there were two votes supporting the investigation, two against it and one board member abstained from voting.

“The community is in outrage over the vote by the majority of this board to not go forward with an independent investigation. It is the responsibility of the superintendent and the school board to provide a safe environment, conducive to providing a quality education for the children of the city of Selma,” one parent told the board Thursday. “The community is not seeking a witch hunt or an indictment against anyone, however we are asking for an investigation by an outside source so that questions will not surface as to the credibility of the findings.”

That same parent told the board the community is embarrassed by all the media attention that has been brought upon the Selma City School System in recent weeks and said, “This cloud will continue to linger over our community until the questions have been asked and answered.”

The petition presented to the board members asks the board revisit the issue of an investigation so that the parents and community can feel confident that they have a school system which functions to provide a safe and academically sound environment for the children of Selma.

Several hundred supporters have already signed the petition. Among those signatures is Selma City Councilman Michael Johnson who said after reading the petition, he knew he needed to sign it.

“The reason why I signed is first of all, is when it comes to the kids, I truly believe there shouldn’t be anything to hide,” Johnson said. “I mean why? Why not have an investigation; if there’s nothing to hide, why not?”

Johnson said while he doesn’t think anything is wrong with the school system, there should still be an investigation to prove that to the community.

“Let them do the investigation and let’s prove to them there is nothing wrong with the students and that everything’s running smoothly, and let’s move forward with it,” he said. “I have a lot of confidence in the teachers, the administrators and all, and I feel like everything will be OK. But my point is, if there’s nothing to hide, let’s do an internal investigation and let’s move forward with it.”

Johnson said having a child that will be attending Selma High School next year added a level of concern and was another reason why he felt he needed to support the petition for the investigation.

“I wouldn’t want nothing to happen to my child or no one else’s child, and I think that we need to clear the air,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of people who want to come forward and are probably scared to say something because it’s going to hurt somebody’s feelings and it shouldn’t be that way. When you’re talking about kids, you really need to go ahead and clear the air and continue to build our school system up without all this false accusations on things that may or may not be true.”

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