CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Some Charleston County parents gathered for a press conference on Thursday morning to express their concerns over how the actions of the Charleston County School Board are being portrayed.
Specifically, the parents say they are concerned about the way the school district has been run regarding things like books they believe may be inappropriate – they also say area residents voted to make some changes.
“I personally have been called a racist and a hater in these meetings,” said Cassie Nagel.
Parents said they do not believe they are asking too much when they question why the school district allows books with content that they consider inappropriate in the schools.
Parents read out passages from books they want removed from shelves. One individual, Jim Roberts, said it was this type of content that motivated him and other voters to make changes to the board.
“If you’re sitting on the sidelines, you’re going to get run over. It’s time for the Sunshine Patriots to get up and say this is not what we want for our kids,” he said.
The parents shared a few excerpts from some of the books they were concerned about:
State Rep. Matt Leber responded to calls by the mayors of Charleston, North Charleston and Mt. Pleasant for changes to be made in how the Charleston County School Board should operate.
“We in the legislature are not the super school board. And neither are those leftist mayors from Tuesday. They are not a super school board,” he said.
He said voters elected different board members specifically to make changes.
“But we had an election. We had an election. All nine of these folks were duly elected,” said Leber.
Mayors John Tecklenburg, Keith Summey and Will Haynie responded with the following statement: “As mayors representing 80 percent of the students, parents and teachers in the Charleston County schools, we’ve come together to ask the CCSD Board to end the chaos and get back to educating our kids. That’s their job, and our whole community needs them to start doing it.”
Meanwhile, the Charleston County School Board will meet Friday morning to receive the report on the investigation involving Superintendent Dr. Eric Gallien, which some board members said led to him being placed on paid leave, and to take action.
They will discuss a proposed settlement agreement with Dr. Gallien and will consider the appointment of an acting superintendent.
CCSD Board of Trustee member Courtney Waters emailed the board Thursday morning regarding the upcoming special meeting saying:
“I am writing to put on record my dismay at potentially being knowingly excluded from the meeting regarding the findings of the investigation Alan Holmes has been conducting. When you contacted me earlier to find my availability, I shared with you that I am having a medical procedure Friday morning. Assuming you’d find another date, I waited a several hours and checked in to find out whether the meeting would proceed or whether we would be given alternative dates. You informed me that the meeting would move forward because you have a quorum.
I find it incredibly inappropriate that you would move forward with such an important meeting knowing all members will not be present, especially for a medical reason. How am I to perceive my being left out of this, particularly when I am one who was in opposition to all of this in the first place? Power comes with great responsibility and you are accountable for the culture and the state of inclusion on this board. The dysfunctionality under which we continue to operate is the primary reason for this mess we are in. The secrecy, the willingness to operate as though the full board does not matter sits at the crux of all of this.
I am left to assume that my voice, because it is counter, is unwelcome given that arrangements for another date were not made. On Monday, we were all led to believe that this meeting would be next week and you also shared with the public that the investigation would go through the end of the month. This shift in the plan is egregious and furthers the issue of lack transparency.
I respectfully request that you treat this matter with the care and diligence it deserves, honor Monday’s discussion and set a date for next week when all can be present.”