BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Some teachers in Berkeley County are wearing black on Fridays in protest of recent controversial firings by the newly-elected school board.
Six members of the new Berkeley County School Board voted, abruptly, to terminate superintendent Deon Jackson and attorney Dr. Tiffany Richardson shortly after the board was sworn in.
Teachers said they are wearing black to let Jackson know they support him and that they want the best decisions made for students and teachers in the district.
Sherry East, president of the South Carolina Education Association, said many teachers were already wearing red on Wednesdays in support of ‘Red for Ed.’ “We’ve been doing that for a few years now. We usually do it during legislative session, but it seems like things have heated up a little before January,” she said.
East said her phone has been ringing off the hook since Tuesday night’s board meeting.
“They’re very upset. And it’s not just the educators and workers, it’s the parents … we’ve had calls from all kinds of folks asking us, what can we do? How can we help is this fair? Can somebody investigate?”
East said her organization is looking into what, if anything, they can do about the situation.
“It seems as if a man who has a perfectly good record, got an impeccable review on his evaluation from others, to turn around and seem to be dismissed really all over politics. It just seems like this was just a political move,” she said.
Some teachers see wearing black as a way to show support for Jackson without jeopardizing anything.
“We’ve had calls from teachers before that they felt that their social media is being watched and they were screenshot. They were turned in for taking some pictures of things when they disagreed with the district previously so wearing the black is, you know, a non-violent easy way to let somebody know you support Mr. Jackson and make him feel that there were people there that had his back,” East said.
In a previous statement to News 2, Berkeley County School Board Chair Mac McQuillian said the board hopes to share their rationale for making the changes in the future and said the board is confident they made a decision that is in the best interest of the district and its students.