NAACP, Barber continue push against Wake Schools

July 6, 2010 1:14:53 PM PDT
The North Carolina Chapter of the NAACP is calling on the community to rally together against decisions made by the Wake County Board of Education.

The group is vowing to keep Wake County public schools from becoming community schools, which it fears will lead to resegregation.

NC NAACP President Rev. William Barber along with representatives from other groups and churches gathered on the capitol steps Tuesday.

"Socio-economic diversity is the friend of school excellence," Barber said.

He wants the new board leadership to re-instate its socio-economic diversity policy.

"In the face of overwhelming opposition, these five people, I don't care where they come from," Barber explained. "I care about how they're hurting our children. They are marching forward to the ideology of their right wing sponsors, tearing us apart."

Barber and others are rallying and calling on the community to join their fight.

"We are here to make an appeal to people of faith in this community and in this state to join us on July 20 to stand together as people of faith and make a statement that we are here for justice," Rev. Nancy Petty, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, told the crowd.

From the perspective of Barber and his supporters, the move to community schools will lead to high poverty and resegregated schools, which they saw will hurt student achievement.

The school board majority argues the diversity policy treats lower income students unfairly and does not help them succeed.

They believe community schools will alleviate those problems, but some students disagree.

"The youth voices in Wake County have been constantly drowned and ignored," one student told ABC11 Eyewitness News. "We are not going down without a fight. We will not go back to the era of Jim Crow laws. Our voices will be heard."

This month's mass rally will begin at the Raleigh Convention Center and proceed down Fayetteville Street to the state capitol. The group will then proceed with a civil demonstration.

Reverend Barber and three other protestors were arrested last month for participating in a sit-in at the school board meeting.

Barber's attorney appeared on his behalf in court Tuesday to petition the court give the arrested protestors the same court date. Thus, allowing the arrests to be handled as one case.

Rev. Barber's trial date is tentatively set for August 3. For now though, Tyson's court date is set for Wednesday morning. He likely won't be there, but an attorney is expected to appear on his behalf and try to get the same date set.

Criminal lawyer Duncan McMillan is helping with the case. They want to have a trial and they want Margiotta to be subpoenaed.

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