CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County School District officials halted a school board meeting Monday when a protest outside the headquarters moved inside to the meeting room.
The protesters were led by Elder James Johnson with the National Action Network. Johnson led students and other protesters into the meeting room and told the children to sit down in the walkway, bringing the meeting to a halt.
Protesters then chanted “No justice, no peace” as well as how they wanted to be educated.
“We’re not going to continue to pay tax payer money to fail our kids,” Johnson shouted.
Board members then left the room and children filled their seats. Protesters announced they were the “new” Charleston County School Board and superintendent.
Protesters said its was the school board’s fault that there were eight failing schools in North Charleston and the closure of Prestige Preparatory Academy, an all-boys charter school in North Charleston.
“Postlewait needs to pack up and go back to Myrtle Beach because she’s not doing a good job,” Johnson said
Some Prestige Prep Academy teachers and protesters accused the district of neglecting the school, leading to students being treated like “slaves.”
Before the meeting, the National Action Network announced a summer of sit-ins against the Charleston County School District and a plan to shut down Prestige Preparatory Academy, a North Charleston all-boys charter school. The group also vowed civil disobedience all summer if the district tries to close the school.
“I’m sick and tired of these white folks’ racism with our kids. It ain’t happening no more. I mean it,” Johnson said.
Protesters say they are standing up for black children withing the district. Part of what they say they’re trying to do is save Burke High School, Garrett Academy of Technology, Prestige Prep academy and save the eight failing schools.
But Superintendent Dr. Gerita Postlewait said last week there are no plans that involve Burke High School closing down.
The district was talking Monday about its plans to fix the district.
CCSD officials released the following statement regarding Monday’s incident at the board meeting:
The disruptive actions by a group of citizens at tonight’s Charleston County School District Board of Trustees regular meeting were extremely disappointing. Rather than wait for one of two scheduled times for public comments, the group shouted and disrupted the meeting as elementary students were being called to the front of the room to be recognized for their accomplishments. The Board’s only course of action was to adjourn the meeting after two attempts to restore order failed.
The Board and District are committed to working with any group who wishes to constructively pursue solutions. However, attempts to disrupt a meeting with children in attendance is an unacceptable method of engagement.