Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Latest battle in 'war' over diversity

The latest fireworks at the Wake County Board of Education came yesterday with the arrest of four people after a sit-in disrupted the board's Tuesday meeting. The Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, Nancy Petty, senior minister at Raleigh's Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, author and Prof. Tim Tyson, who teaches at Duke University and parent Nancy Williams were arrested on charges of second-degree trespass. They were later released. See the News & Observer's story on it here.

The arrests came after the four said they would continue to occupy school board members' seats and speak about the board's decision to end its diversity-based school assignment policies until they were arrested. The arrests came about an hour after the meeting was to begin.

What's really interesting is that Gov. Bev Perdue recently weighed in on the board's move to assign students to neighborhood schools and said the state was in a war. The Wilmington Journal covered last week's meeting of the N.C. Legislative Black Caucus and had this report, which blogger Gary Pearce of quoted the other day in these paragraphs:

Declaring that the state was ''in a war,'' Governor Beverly Perdue told members of the NC Legislative Black Caucus last weekend that she, as a citizen, fully supported the efforts of NC NAACP President Rev. William Barber in challenging the resegregation of public schools across the state. Even if that ''war'' ultimately ends up in the US Supreme Court.

''North Carolina is in a war,'' the governor declared last Friday during the opening night banquet of the 24th Annual NC Legislative Black Caucus Foundation's Education Scholarship Weekend at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in the ResearchTrianglePark….

''If it takes going to the Supreme Court of this great country from WayneCounty and for Wake County, and for other counties in North Carolina, so be it,'' the governor continued. ''We will stand together, to make sure that all of the children of this state have a chance.''

It’s not clear whether Gov. Perdue will make this war a part of her administration or whether she will intervene in any court action, including any Supreme Court litigation, or whether this was just political talk. She’s already got quite a lot on her plate, but she does sound mighty fired-up about the Wake board.

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