Mayor urging Wake to bring back diversity

January 17, 2011 8:21:47 PM PST
Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker is sharing his thoughts on the diversity controversy in the Wake County school system.The mayor is urging the community to get to work and bring back diversity.

On the day the country honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream of a united country, the attention in the Triangle turned to the Wake County Public School Board and its decision to end its long-standing diversity policy.

"This is a moral issue," Mayor Meeker said. "This is a civil rights issue."

Meeker weighed in on the controversy during a prayer vigil in Durham Monday morning, receiving a standing ovation for his thoughts.

"We have four members of the school board who are way off track," he said. "Our community needs to simply stand up and get the board back on track."

But one of the board members Meeker seemed to be referring to, Republican John Tedesco, had a different take on the comment.

"When the mayor noted that there are four members of the school board who were way off track, I was very surprised that he would actually acknowledge that his wife, Dr. McLaurin, and the other three liberals on our school board are that far off track."

Tedesco says the Republican school board majority is on track and moving forward, putting student achievement first. He defends his vote to end the diversity policy and says the segregation of schools, which Dr. King fought so hard to end, is a non-issue in 2011.

"Wake County remains one of the most diverse and integrated communities across this state and we want to continue to move forward to make sure every child gets every opportunity they deserve and not just be shuffled around," Tedesco said.

Governor Bev Perdue was also at Monday morning's event and though she didn't specifically talk about the Wake County School Board, she did seem to agree with Mayor Meeker, saying the struggle for equality continues today.

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