Welcome to RedEye's front page The Composer! I look forward to your continued informed, intelligent, involvement in the debate/discussion. This post is submitted as a guest commentary, with links and graphics inserted for emphasis and clarity. Future post will be under The Composer's byline.~RedEye
Amidst a completed prelude of rolling thunder and pouring showers, a scene of calmness covered the atmosphere of 200 White Street, as the central office for Huntsville City Schools served as host for a press conference organized and administered by the North Huntsville Community United for Action (NHCUA).
This group consists of local ministers, elected officials, community leaders and concerned citizens of the Huntsville community. The press conference was called to bring awareness to the issues that continue to plague the local school system, particularly in north Huntsville where the population is majority African-American.
About 30 individuals, not including representatives of HCS: Rena Anderson (Director of Community Engagement) , David Driscoll (Director of Community Spying?), and local media were in attendance.
The initial gathering was typical as people reconnected with one another and discussed the various issues relative to the community, including newly elected school board members, the SAFe initiative, the untimely and tragic death of Julian Jones, and the fact the group was not allowed to assemble on the steps of the central office. What happened to the right to assemble on public property? Our tax dollars fund the Annie Merts Building, right? Help me out here if I am wrong! If we were standing in any of the front yards of private residences near central office, then maybe I would entertain the request, but I digress.
The demeanor was serious as a focused listened to a prepared statement delivered by Rev. Montgomery, pastor of Union Hill PB Church after opening remarks by Rev. T.C. Johnson, pastor of St.Luke Christian Center. Rev. Montgomery highlighted factual data showing African American students are 41% of the student population, slightly over 70% of out of school suspensions, and more than 60% of school expulsions. This indeed is alarming, and leads to the conclusion that racial profiling is at an all-time high in Huntsville, AL. This gave notion to the most recent scandal which Rev. Montgomery referred to as a "scheme".
It’s sad that we have to resort to the Internet and to the press to air our issues instead of sitting down at the table of fellowship and work out our problems/grievances like civilized adults. District 1 school board member Laurie McCaulley was not present, as she probably saw no purpose in dealing with her former allies of NHCUA, or maybe she was enjoying fall break. The question then becomes, what incident will garnish the magnitude of revelation that will force all parties to compromise and embrace one another as children of God?
Overall, the press conference called for the resignation of Superintendent Wardynski. If not obliged, his termination at the hands of the BOE was also requested. It is my personal opinion Casey Wardynski is regarded as he is, simply because he is of his military background. Think about it, the military is designed by ranks; therefore you have a certain rank to be addressed by those in command. The Superintendent probably believes that his board members will serve with the best interest of their respective communities in mind. This means that he would be able to trust those that represent the various districts to provide the necessary information that will lead to his ongoing decision making. He probably would pose the notion that if the board member says the district wants it like that then I can move forward with my proposal. But when the board member is not transparent and is working behind the backs of the constituency you can expect inaccuracy will be at the forefront of all parliamentary procedure. Inaccuracy in curriculum implementation, funding, and general planning has been the Achilles heel of HCS. We now face probably the biggest divide since the Hereford prime days!
Some of the following questions were asked by members of the media: What is your next move? Do you believe that the situation is unfair for Black kids? What specific actions have you done to improve the community? What do black students in north Huntsville want. Al.com reporter Mark McCarter asked “Have you met with Wardysnski face to face?” to which the audience responded by laughing hysterically.
Transparency and communication are not now, nor have they ever been, one of this Superintendents strong suits. When asked if all board members had been contacted. Rev. Scruggs, pastor of First Missionary Baptist church, and immediate past President of the National Baptist Convention, reminded them of the Prayer Vigil held earlier this year, at which Mayor Battle, Superintendent Wardynski, and all school board members were in attendance.
If you missed the press conference, you missed a special moment! Surely some people will attempt to label this as a race card movement, but facts don’t lie. We live in a dual society, and we have a dual school system. I challenge members of the community to visit all schools and learn the educational arena that trains our students for the real world. I also encourage all citizens to participate in the political system, as your eyes will be opened up to new discoveries and certainly new ideas.
To the brave men and women who continue to fight for justice, thank you for your persistence and perseverance. Keep fighting. I encourage you to go even further beyond your consistent efforts as the urgency of now is like never before.
- The Composer