Blacks: Lack of leaders hinders pupils

Published 2:45 am Tuesday, September 25, 2007

By Staff
Petition school board to hire more minorities
Staff Writer
Beaufort County’s black community is “distraught” with the body tasked with educating its youth.
It was standing room only at the meeting, with scores of black men and women flocking to show concern for the scarcity of blacks in leadership roles in the school system. That show of solidarity was displayed on the 50th anniversary of a civil rights milestone. Fifty years ago Monday, Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. was integrated by force when federal troops escorted nine blacks into the all-white school. But, teacher integration, rather than student integration, was at issue in Beaufort County night.
Of the 498 teachers employed in the county’s schools, 39 are black, according to Boston. Of 14 principals in the system, one — Victoria Mallison — is black. Mallison is the principal of the Beaufort County Ed Tech Center, an alternative school.
Beaufort County Commissioner Jerry Langley lamented the shortage of black principals at a commissioner’s meeting earlier this month. In an interview earlier Monday, he said the school board is shortchanging the county’s minorities by not hiring them in leadership roles, and that one black principal wasn’t enough.
Boston said at the meeting that he and his fellow blacks found that hard to believe.
Boston’s statement met with a chorus of “amen.”
Langley said black students need teachers like them who understand the issues specific to young black men and women.
“The way our society is deteriorating, our children need to have someone they can relate to,” Langley said. “When they have a problem, they need someone they can go to that looks like them. There are a lot of fine white folks in the school system, but at the same time, they don’t know what it is like to be black.”
School board Chairman Robert Belcher said the board planned to form a committee to “study the issue.”
At the meeting, Boston said interaction with black educators would be beneficial to all students, but that “culturally compatible, culturally competent teachers are essential” to the success of blacks in school.