Updated 03/06/2010 06:53 PM
NAACP files complaint against Wake school board
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DURHAM – The North Carolina NAACP announced on Friday that it's filing a complaint with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the group that accredits many of Wake County's schools.
"The secretive agendas, the meeting tactics, and the votes committed beforehand effectively exclude many stakeholders from the effective administration of the largest school system in the state," said Rev. William Barber, the president of the state chapter.
The group singles out the five members of the new majority: Chairman Ron Margiotta, John Tedesco, Debra Goldman, Chris Malone, and Deborah Prickett. The complaint alleges the board members violated SACS standards.
"We believe their actions have created an educational, social and moral crisis for our community," Barber said.
Donna James, the state director of SACS, said they look into all the complaints they receive and will send a review team to investigate if there's substantial evidence. But she said that's only happened once, in Burke County, in the four years she's been with the group.
A spokesperson with SACS said there's only been one school system in their 11-state region that has lost it in the last 40 years. James said she had not received a copy of the complaint when reached by telephone Friday afternoon. Neither the Wake County school system nor school board attorney Ann Majestic had received a copy either, so they had no comment about it.
Bill Randall, one of the supporters of the new board majority who's running for Congress on the Republican ticket, was also at the news conference where the complaint was announced. He said it will be a distraction.
"If they're going to do that, the board needs to be undaunted," Randall said. "If I had to encourage them in something, I would say be very mindful in the way you speak things and the tone and verbiage you use to couch your phrases, but other than that, they need to continue and focus on the objectives and do what they people bid them to do."
Controversy erupted after a heated board meeting on Tuesday when speakers accused board members of racism and segregation. The NAACP also suggested there were racial overtones to the chair's comments about the crowd after they reacted negatively to Randall's comment praising the new board.
Debra Goldman said the controversy has gotten out of control and that the new complaint filed by the NAACP doesn't help.
"When you start getting emotion involved in things like this and you start dealing from a place of name-calling and accusations, it's not productive," she said.
She also extended an invitation to Barber to meet with the board's leadership team.
"Meet with me and the chairman and the superintendent and let's get to work," she said. "Let's see how you can help us."