CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The fate of a Charleston County elementary school is not officially decided, a Charleston County School District board member who accused leadership of operating under a "slavemaster mentality" says.
Kevin Hollinshead made the remarks in a 41-minute video posted this weekend by Quintin Washington, a local host and producer of an online interview web show called “Quintin’s Closeups.” Hollinshead called it a “turmoil time” for the constituents of the Charleston County School Board. He says unfair changes happening in the district favor wealthy students and ignore poor ones.
Washington asked Hollinshead about proposed changes the school board voted on earlier this month. The changes included hiring private companies to run some of the failing schools here along with merging and closing other schools.
Hollinshead blames problems in the district on Superintendent Dr. Gerrita Postlewait and says she is especially neglectful of poor black, white and Hispanic children in North Charleston’s low-income schools.
When Washington asked about another agenda item that was approved, transitioning Mary Ford Elementary into an Early Education Center and rezoning the Ford students to Chicora Elementary, Hollinshead said he and board member Chris Collings opposed that plan. He then criticized Postlewait.
“She had not taken the time to poll the community or meet with those parents," he said. "Again, slavemaster mentality. You negroes on that plantation do what I say is best for you. The board members that go along with her, they sit there, and don’t question. They just go along and do it.”
He also said certain areas seem to have a larger voice in the district’s decision making.
“When Mount Pleasant -- and I like the people over there, we’ve gotten to talk -- when they raise hell, they back off of them. When Buist raised hell to a certain point, they bend and buckle with them. Black folks get rolled over," Hollinshead said. “You do not pay with people’s children! I don’t care if they’re poor or rich. You don’t play with their children.”
He also referred to Postlewait filling in as a substitute teacher last year when teachers rallied in Columbia. Hollinshead accused Postlewait of not being social and involved enough with the district’s students and schools.
“Hey man, go stand in classroom for about a month in North Charleston, then you come back and talk to me,” he said.
Hollinshead said though there was no vote taken on Minnie Hughes Elementary School, a school that was under consideration of being closed, that doesn’t mean closure couldn’t still happen.
“He took it off the agenda, but he didn’t kill it,” Hollinshead said. The board never set a motion to kill the plan altogether, which he says means the closure could still happen.
Hollinshead said he understood a similar scenario occurred with Lincoln High School in McClellanville, which closed its doors after the 2015-206 school year.
“They took it off the issue then they all came back and brought it up and then shut the school down,” he said. That vote happened before he joined the board, Hollinshead said.
The district removed the vote on closing Hughes Elementary from the agenda last week, leading to cheers from concerned parents and community members who were attending the meeting.
But Hollinshead said the Hughes issue is not decided but merely taken off the agenda. The school could still be closed at any time, he said.
Hollinshead said Monday afternoon that he stands by the comments he made in the interview.
The Charleston County School District and Postlewait said the had no comment.