The flawed superintendent search process was discriminatory against a qualified African American candidate. The actions of the current Charleston County School District Board of Trustees under the leadership of Cindy Bohn Coats were atrocious and an example of how deeply rooted the race problem is in our city, county and state.
While we’ve lavished praise on the families of the Emanuel 9, the black community and other sympathizers for their peaceful and prayerful reactions in the wake of these 10 murders (including Walter Scott), we should also pause for a moment with individual self-examination to make sure we are not at least a bit culpable by ignoring the obvious racism that permeates every aspect of the lives of most African Americans in our state.
If there is one place where deliberate, immediate and intentional attention needs to be paid, it is our educational system and the move to return to the era of segregated and unequal public schools.
The trustees should immediately remove Cindy Bohn Coats from leadership. Furthermore, any other board member who is not committed to treating all of the stakeholders with respect, equality and fairness, should step down for the good of Charleston County School District.
Chair Coats’ leadership is glaringly questionable in her public statements. The chair stated that she made contact with all of the board of trustees about moving forward with the recent candidates’ interviews. However, according to at least one board member, that did not happen. Furthermore, Chair Coats initially indicated that Dr. Lisa Herring was being considered, as one of two in-house candidates who met the qualifications. Dr. Postlewait should never have been included in the consideration at that time. Was the chair telling the truth then or now, given her recent statement indicating that she personally didn’t consider Dr. Herring for the job because she had never served as a superintendent? The entire community deserves better in a public school board chair.
The recent actions of this school board that resulted in the hiring of Dr. Postlewait in the wake of the above mentioned 10 murders is in stark contrast to the care and concern that has been bestowed on the African American community. That same level of care and concern is now needed to right the wrong of this board.
All of the money and good will in the world in the aftermath of what our community has had to endure will not bring our loved ones back — only the actions of people with clean hearts and good will can assure that they did not lose their lives in vain.
Over the past weeks since the slaughter of the Emanuel 9, I have been asked, “What can we do to help?” Well, my immediate response is: Stand up boldly and publicly against the board’s action in order to prevent the death of fair, equal and diverse educational opportunities for all children, including African Americans. Do this in remembrance of them, the Emanuel 9 — plus one!
Charleston Branch NAACP