Parents protest disrupts school board meeting

February 20, 2008 7:24:16 AM PST
Concerned parents say they've tried the proper route, writing letters to administrators requesting a public meeting with the principal of Dillard Drive Middle.

When that didn't work they decided protest on the street outside the school board meeting. and eventually inside a school board committee meeting.

Chanting, "We want Mizelle. We want Mizelle," some parents are upset with Area Superintendent Julye Mizelle for denying their request for a public meeting with Principal Teresa Abron.

Security escorted the group out of the meeting.

Raleigh police made sure they left.

The group of parents and citizens are demanding a public meeting in which they want Abron to apologize for holding separate meetings with black and Hispanic students after an alleged gang argument in December. Protestors held up signs that read, "Separate is not Equal."

One woman who will only let us use her first name says her daughter wore a bandanna to school that officials say intimidated an African American girl.

"She was told that she was involved in a gang when she wasn't," Theresa said. She was going through cancer treatments that's why she was wearing a bandanna." She says the principal won't meet with her.

The Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina, Jennifer Rudinger, told Eyewitness News that she was disappointed in administrators decision not to allow a public meeting. "Over 177 parents and concerned citizens signed a petition requesting a public meeting so that all the facts can come out so that the truth can come out instead of the spin we've been hearing from the school district."

The protestors felt the next step above the administration is the school board. But School Board Chairwoman Rosa Gill says board members do not handle personnel issues.

"If there is a need for the board to get involved, I think the superintendent will alert us to it," Gill said. "But right now it appears that everything is under control and we are keeping our schools safe."

Superintendent Del Burns says a public meeting should be considered and was considered by Mizelle and Abron.

"Teresa Abron handled a difficult situation very well," Burns said. "She worked hard to diffuse an escalating situation and in this case I think she made a good call."

A call a group one group of parents and citizens disagrees with.


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