Religious leaders want school board to postpone vote

March 18, 2010 8:49:08 PM PDT
Religious leaders in Wake County are coming together to say they want the school board to postpone next week's vote to end the diversity policy.Members of the Wake County Clergy Coalition are hoping their petition will convince the school board not to take the diversity policy out of its student assignment plan as they switch to community schools.

Click here to read the petition

The group admits there are problems with the current policy, but says a rush to dismantle it could lead to re-segregation.

The president of the state NAACP, a reverend, also signed the petition.

His organization has threatened to sue if changes violate the Civil Rights Act or the Constitution.

Members of the board majority didn't know about the petition until ABC11 Eyewitness News told them about it Thursday.

"We always appreciate prayer," member of board majority Chris Malone said. "Everyone needs prayer. I need prayer. The board needs prayer. So, thank you very much. But I think we're ready to go and we're doing the right thing. After all, it is about the children."

They say the current policy often means busing lower income students far from home and treats them unfairly.

Thursday, a new student assignment committee met for the first time. Board members and citizens are working together to make changes to the existing three year assignment plan which called for moving some students around before this new board took over.

"If there's not a real significant reason to move kids this year, it's a shame to move them again it really is," School Board Vice Chair Debra Goldman said. "We need to be seeking stability and balance for our kids."

The board is expected to vote Tuesday to end the diversity policy and rallies and protests are expected.

In fact, the clergy coalition will be holding a candlelight vigil Monday night - praying board members will change their minds.

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