Issue taken with story about superintendent selection

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dear Editor:

I write this letter as a citizen; a parent of a child in the Selma City School System; an as an individual board member on the Selma City Board of Education.

To say that I am appalled at the article in your newspaper on Friday, Dec. 14, 2007 would be an understatement (&8220;BOE Still at odds over superintendent&8221;). This article written by Mr. Victor Inge was poorly written, not factual and certainly in no way represented the process used by the board in the superintendent search.

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Yes, a board member walked out of the executive session before it was completed and went and sat with the audience. The abandonment of the board by any member is an individual choice in which the rest of the members have no control over. But to slander the board, its process and the candidates for superintendent after abandonment is, in my opinion, unacceptable and should be dealt with legally.

Mrs. Barbara Hiouas, my fellow board member, has a right to her opinion but she does not have the right to walk-out on an executive session and place the board and its members in jeopardy by misrepresenting the facts.

If The Selma Times-Journal is that driven toward adding to the problems that are presently dividing our city, I would advise you to research your information, get the facts before printing it, and partner with your competitor, Angelfire, and give it some credibility.

After the board meeting was completed, Mr. Inge got his information on the ranking of the candidates for superintendent directly from the board’s president, Mr. John Williams.

I was present during the exchange. Mr. Williams informed Mr. Inge that the top two candidates were Dr. Richardson and Dr. Jefferson; he did not recall where the other two candidates ranked.

Mr. Williams response was factual and given in good faith. Where Mr. Inge received that erroneous information that he chose to print in his article regarding the ranking of the candidates, I have no idea.

But, If Mr. Inge truly had the desire to print the truth, he would have quoted the president or went back to his notes that I’m presuming he took at the called board meeting which was held on Dec. 10, 2007.

In this meeting I made a motion to the board. The minutes reads as follows: Mrs. Howard made a motion that the City School Board of Selma needed to take a vote on the two finalists Dr. Yvette Richardson and Dr. Donald Jefferson. The Rev. Chestnut seconded the motion and the motion passed with eight members voting in the affirmative.

Mr. Inge was present when this occurred. I don’t recall any board member voting against the motion, and I’m sure he doesn’t either. Therefore; I question the motive behind this article and any one partaking in it, especially your comments in the editorial section.

Both articles were offensive and I personally took them as an attack on my character, my individuality, and what I represent.

Did it ever cross your mind that you were writing about innocent human-beings who have feelings? Did you not think for one minute about the negative effect that your article would have on board members, candidates, the citizens of this community and most importantly, our children.

I have been a member of the Selma City Board for approximately three years, and in that short period of time I have learned that if you step up for what is right, attacks will come out of nowhere, your faith will be put to the test, and the people who can’t control you will demonize you.

In closing I would like to state that I know Ii have no control over what you write in your paper that’s not factual, however, I will not sit idle and allow you, a board member or anyone else to defame a process that was well thought out, fair, and looking out for the best interest of our children, faculty and staff in the Selma City School System.

Debra Reeves-Howard