Southside still without principal

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 12, 2002

Cheers and jeers filled the county courthouse annex Thursday as Dallas County School System Superintendent Wayne May announced that he could not recommend any candidates to fill the principal’s position at Southside High School.

The position, formerly occupied by James Parker, who recently retired, will be kept vacant until further notice, May said.

The move caused resentment among many Southside students and parents at the Dallas County Board of Education meeting who felt that Gary Crum should have been chosen for the job.

Crum, who is currently the principal at Five Points Elementary and was not present at the meeting, was the favored candidate of many who attended.

Willie Jackson, a parent from Southside, told The Times-Journal that he held a petition with 60 signatures asking that Crum be appointed principal.

After May announced that he could not make a recommendation, Jackson addressed the board.

“Southside has many problems,” said Jackson. “Some of our best teachers have been taken away, and right now we have an inadequate teaching and janitorial staff.”

Added Jackson, “Gary Crum is the most qualified person to hold this position. He can instill pride into the students and can bring help to a system that is deeply in debt.”

Jackson noted that Crum held a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Alabama State University, that he is a pastor at Ellwood Community Church, and that he is also a former student at Southside High School.

Jackson finished his remarks to loud applause and cheers from the audience, which filled the entire annex.

Jacqueline Harris, who said she was another parent in the Southern zone, then addressed the board, telling board members why she thought Crum should not be chosen as principal.

Harris alluded to a recent controversy surrounding Crum that involves deposits from Five Points that were not made in a timely manner after he became principal at the school.

The late deposits were reported after an audit was done on the Dallas County School System by the Department of Examiners of Public accounts.

Said Harris, “What this proves to kids is that all you need is a bankroll, rather than education to get ahead.”

Harris also faulted Crum as a pastor, saying that he was “not concerned with children of different church denominations from his own church.” Harris’ statement was received mostly with jeers from the audience.

School board member Cecil Williamson, addressing questions directed at the board by audience members, said that board members could not vote on anything unless it was recommended by the superintendent.

Board member Bill Minor said that he hoped that the situation could be remedied.

“I still really believe we can sit down together and work this thing out,” said Minor, addressing the audience. “Our kids have been left behind for too long.”