Integration did not solve all problems —Leigh Touchton

The appended came in last night as a comment on Audience interaction about CUEE @ LCDP 2 May 2011. Leigh Touchton is President of the Valdosta-Lowndes NAACP and was present at the LCDP meeting, as was NAACP First Vice President Phyllis Stallworth. -jsq
In response to the person exclaiming about the situation in the sixties: What many of our members recall vividly from that period of time is how black teachers and black principals were fired or demoted, some even went to work as custodians. Our members and their families all experienced this to some degree. Right now, Valdosta City Schools probably has fewer black administrators that at any time since integration. We have taken complaints whereby black professionals were passed over for promotion or demoted or denied a position which was given to white candidates with less experience, fewer credentials, and even in one instance, an incomplete employment application. These stories are profound and leave lasting impressions which cannot be ignored. It is very impolite for the majority to tell the minority how to feel about this. Integration, as Dr. George has clearly explained, did not solve all problems.

Our members have valid reasons for feeling the way we do, we feel that the rights of all children to achieve are also interwoven with the rights of all education professionals to be treated with equality and fairness. Since we are having to fight so hard for equality and representation in Valdosta City Schools, where we have several Board members who represent minority districts, and a black Chairman, it is impossible for us to believe that becoming even more of a minority in a consolidated system will be beneficial. The struggles have been lengthy, expensive, and emotional, and they continue today.

-Leigh Touchton