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Letter to the Editor

Writer claims School Board in "Collusion with School District to Play Race Card", Accuse Concerned Citizens of Bigotry

web posted May 22, 2009
Dear Editor,
You know you are getting close to proving corruption, fraud, malfeasance, and incompetence of individuals when they play the race card.  Yes they did. James Bibbs, Sally Cooks, and Mary Rice-Crenshaw have played the race card, accusing Charles Kemp and Jim Jackson of bigotry, and that Kemp and Jackson are only going after Superintendent Crenshaw because she is an African American.  That’s their only line of defense - play the race card, because what they have engaged in has been documented and is indefensible. 

And once again they put on full display for all to see, their incompetence.  You would think they would be smart enough to confirm the veracity of their false allegation of bigotry before they made it.  But, then again, this is the same bunch that circumvented legal counsel to employ strong-arm tactics and shaking down the teachers.  It appears they made this allegation in an attempt to provide cover for themselves, even their own board members see what is going on. 
( http://www.edgefielddaily.com/news092707.html )
It surely couldn’t be that Kemp and Jackson are going after Crenshaw and members of the school board because they are incompetent.  Even Cooks’ own in-law sat in utter dismay at how she ran the last school board meeting, stating that she’s gone.
It surely couldn’t be that Kemp and Jackson are going after the Superintendent because the current path the Edgefield County School District is heading down the same path as the last two districts Crenshaw ran into the ground, Clarendon Three School District and Dorchester County (http://www.edgefielddaily.com/sd091307.html).
It surely couldn’t be that Kemp and Jackson are going after school board members because they have abused their positions and looted the travel coffers for their own comfort and luxury ( http://www.edgefielddaily.com/editorial092506.html ).
It surely couldn’t be that Kemp and Jackson are going after school board members that say they pay for things out of their own pocket when in fact they were reimbursed by the district.
It couldn’t be that Kemp and Jackson are going after the Superintendent because she can’t even manage just a minute part of the budget, such as travel, totally in contravention to the district’s travel policy.
It surely couldn’t be that Crenshaw jeopardizes the safety of our children by turning a blind eye to a threat of extortion and rape of a student (http://www.edgefielddaily.com/letter030609.html ). 
It surely couldn’t be that Crenshaw owns and operates a private grant writing company that has a conflict of interest with employees in the district that are paid to write grants.  ( http://www.mamakidsinc.com/
It surely couldn’t be that members of the board are so incompetent as to even garner comments from the African American community as to the embarrassing antics at the board meetings. (http://www.edgefielddaily.com/wanderingminds.html, dated May 13, 2009) 
It surely couldn’t be that in discovering the incompetence of board members Kemp and Jackson have approached an African American to replace a board member after a planned voter recall.  And amazingly enough, after talking with several African Americans in the community, they were told by the African American community their African American replacement candidate was too white.  Seems like a little bigotry in reverse, huh? 
And surely, it couldn’t be that the qualified superintendent voted against by our current board because he didn’t have “intestinal fortitude”
( http://www.edgefielddaily.com/editorial091307.html ), is effectively managing his district, no teachers there are losing their jobs, and in fact he is hiring.
So one must ask, what is it that Kemp and Jackson are onto to provoke the playing of the race card?  Better yet, let’s ask these simple questions?  What shape is our district in?  How’s the morale of the work force?  Didn’t we just lose another good teacher to a neighboring county?  And, how many teachers are looking for jobs elsewhere?
Sadly enough, some of our African American brethren hold their heads down in shame when the race card is played because fair-minded people realize that to get somewhere in life requires merit, hard work, and responsibility, and playing the race card is only an excuse for such inadequacies.  Kemp and Jackson have been asked to step back because people are afraid of the race card tactic.  Well if that’s the case, this County and its school system will pay a severe price, one of which will take many, many years to recover from, if it will be able to recover at all.  That’s sad.  Parents of every child are willing to allow this to continue at the expense of their own children, just so a few can enrich themselves and grind their own axe. But who cares.
In the end, the legacy of these elected officials will be a disgrace and a significant burden to future generations.

Jim Jackson
Merriwether SC

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