Parents, Charleston NAACP address school diversity concerns, among other hot topics

Parents, NAACP address CCSD diversity concerns, among other hot topics

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - In their monthly chapter meeting Thursday, the Charleston branch of the NAACP invited community members to weigh in on concerns within the Charleston County School District (CCSD).

Among the topics of discussion was the safety of county school buses and the search for a new superintendent, while talks regarding a lack of diversity continued.

In a Board of Trustees meeting Monday, acting superintendent Michael Bobby said of the diversity concerns, "the call to action is very clear."

Bobby said long and short term action would begin immediately.  Thursday, calls and emails to the Charleston County School District office seeking the details of that action plan went unreturned.

Charleston NAACP vice president Joe Darby says the issue has been simmering for years, but "bubbled up with the Academic Magnet incident."

Last fall, controversy erupted at the school after a parent complained the football team's post-game celebration was racially insensitive.

That celebration included a watermelon, with a face drawn on it.

Some argued, players may have acted differently, had the school been more diverse.

"Even though the schools are desegregated, there are still plenty of segregated classes," Darby added.

In a meeting last month, Academic Magnet parent  and diversity chair Charlisa Pugh, voiced similar concerns before the District Strategic Education Committee, proposing a lottery system as part of the school's admission process.

"We are doing our children who attend the school a disservice by not educating them in a diverse environment representative of the world in which they will one day live and work," she said in an email Thursday.

Ten years ago, she says Magnet had over 100 black students enrolled. This year, there are 16.

Pugh said she's been asked to serve on a district diversity task force, but has not been given a timeline on when those meetings will begin.

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