Racial Justice Network calls on CCSD to improve racial, educational and COVID-19 disparities for minority students

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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The Racial Justice Network claims the Charleston County School District (CCSD) is leaving students behind. The group is demanding federal funding be used to reverse what they call educational and racial disparities.

The group is calling for improvements to be made including closing the learning gap for minority students, increasing COVID-19 protocols and improving technology. They say minority students are two to three years behind other CCSD students.

“Black kids are failing math and reading,” says Elder James Johnson, President of the National Action Network.

We’ve got high school kids now that are graduating and they graduating on a 6th grade reading level,” says Rev. Charles Glover with the organization. “That is unheard of, that is unethical.”

Parents, community members and activists are demanding changes within the Charleston County School District to improve racial, educational and COVID-19 disparities.

As a parent, as a grandparent, as a member of this community, I will not sit on the side line,” says Gwyn Robinson. “The heck with that. I don’t want my child, my grandkids coming home with an infection.”

CCSD set to receive hundreds of millions in federal funding, the organization says the money should be put towards improving racial disparities across the district and improving covid-19 safety.

“Education, technology, mental health services, summer learning and supplemental programs after school,” says Beverly Gadson-Birch with the organization.

The group’s education commission says minority students are behind and in same cases they are more than two years behind. They say the funding is a once in a lifetime opportunity to close the gap.

“Providing a quality education and an equal opportunity for all students to excel and to exceed expectations,” says Gadson-Birch.

The disparities reaching beyond students, pushing the district to hire more minority staff to work in rural schools with minority students. The group is pushing for the changes to happen as soon as possible.

“Either you’re going to do or don’t,” says Glover. “It’s as simple as that. We will sit on the sidewalk until something is done.”

The Racial Justice Network says they will continue to gather at CCSD Headquarters until district leaders agree to listen to their demands. The group plans to hold a town hall meeting next Thursday at the Alfred Williams Community Center.

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