Beaufort Co. parents voice concern over school assembly they say targeted African American students

Beaufort Co. parents voice concern over school assembly they say targeted African American students
Some Beaufort County parents looking for answers Tuesday night at the school board meeting. They’re concerned about a school assembly they say targeted African American students. (Source: WTOC)

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Some Beaufort County parents looking for answers Tuesday night at the school board meeting. They’re concerned about a school assembly they say targeted African American students.

Students at Lady’s Island Middle School say they were embarrassed and offended by the presentation given by the school principal last week. But school officials say their intention was to inform students about academic and disciplinary changes that need to be made.

Lady’s Island Middle School held a meeting with students and faculty last week to discuss academics and discipline data. However, some parents and students say they were offended by the presentation.

“I felt offended actually because he told us that like most of the African American kids couldn’t read on grade level,” said 8th grade student Letecia Whittingham.

According to the principal, the data they got from the state found that 78 percent of African American students were not reading at grade level.

Parents like Lakiesha Warren-Chisolm came to the Beaufort County Board of Education’s meeting to voice her concerns. She says her son felt singled out by the comments made.

“He told me that he felt like he was saying that they’re dumb and they can’t read and that hurt me because that’s not what I sent my kids to school for,” she said.

School officials say it was not their intention to offend anyone.

“I was crushed to hear that I had hurt kids feelings simply by trying to be a leader in the building, to motivate and acknowledge where we are, but also acknowledge what all we have," said Lady’s Island Middle School Principal Gregory Hall. "The great amount of work we have to get done.”

After talking with students and parents, the school held meetings to apologize and discuss academic and disciplinary concerns. However, parents like Warren-Chisolm say more needs to be done because this is an ongoing issue.

“I feel like this shouldn’t be swept under the rug,” she said.

School officials say they will continue to have data meetings in the future in order to improve academic performance.

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