NAACP Protests: Wake County School Board Ends 'Forced Busing'
North Carlina School Board Ends Forced Busing Sparks Fears of "Re-segregation," 19 Arrested
The Wake Country School Board, the 19th largest school board in the USA, has narrowly voted (5-4) to end the "forced busing' of students to ensure racial diversity in schools.
Nineteen people were arrested, including the head of state NAACP chapter who was banned from the meeting after a trespassing arrest at a June school board gathering.
"We know that our cause is right," the Rev. William Barber said shortly before police put plastic handcuffs on his wrists before the meeting started.
Inside, more than a dozen demonstrators disrupted the meeting by gathering around a podium, chanting and singing against the board's policies.
The board's chairman, Ron Margiotta, said the panel would not be distracted in its effort to "provide choice and increased stability for families."
"This board does not intend to create high poverty or low-performing schools," he said to scoffs from the crowd.
Supporters of the Wake Country School Board says the current diversity policy hasn't worked, that the graduation rates for African-American and Latino students is unacceptably low.
The head of the local Wake County Republican Club, Donna Williams says something had to give.
Only 51 percent of Hispanics and 63 percent of African-Americans graduated from schools in Wake County, compared to an overall graduation rate of 78 percent, according to the Wake County Public School System.
"When people get emotional, they get scared and afraid and believe whatever people are filling in their heads. What we need to do is come together to figure out what is best for our kids," Williams said.
Opponents of the Wake School Board school busing vote say Wake County is turning its back on a success diversity model.
The NAACP's Rev William Barber says
...the school board's decision is not constitutional and is a practice that will lead to educational failure. "Neighborhood-schools [policy] not only separates bodies, it separates the budget, the buildings, the teachers -- basically, all the building blocks of education," he said. "What you end up with is a district that's high in poverty, high in turnover, and high in underachievement."