February 19, 2016
Dayton, OH- On Tuesday, the monthly Dayton Public School Board meeting took place where community members and allies of the local community-based organization Racial Justice NOW! (RJN!)attended to voice concerns over the stationing of police officers in Dayton Public Schools (DPS) and DPS sporting events.
Over 20 community members and allies with RJN! signed up to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting in which each speaker is allowed to speak for 3 minutes. Due to the high number of speakers, school board President Adil Baguirov and Vice President Sheila Taylor reduced the public comment time to 1 minute. RJN is outraged at the school board’s action and believes the decision was targeted to silence Black community members.
School board Vice President Taylor called for police to address community members who opposed the reduced speaking time and also told Bishop Richard Cox of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, “Sit down,” when he also spoke out against the decision. “The manner in which Vice President Taylor addressed community members is completely unacceptable. As invested Black community leaders we feel disrespected and discriminated against,” says Zakiya Sankara-Jabar of RJN!.
Bob Cole, Managing Attorney with Advocates of Basic Legal Equality is representing RJN! regarding the exclusion of community participation in school board meetings and that ABLE will be investigating DPS and its board for violations of their own policies and procedures, violations of state open meetings requirements and violations of ODE regulations regarding community participation in district meetings relating to the education of children in Dayton School District.
There may also be violations of federal law, if the majority of the community members who wish to speak at the school board meeting were African American.
RJN! will hold a press conference today Friday, February 19 at 11am at Dayton School Board offices at 115 South Ludlow to address the matter. Although RJN! applauds DPS for calling a special meeting to further discuss the stationing of police officers at DPS sporting events, the manner in which Black community members were treated at the school board meeting needs to be addressed.
Contact: Zakiya Sankara-Jabar, (937)8251791, firstname.lastname@example.org
“Our mission is to advance parent leadership that ensures that all children are rightfully educated regardless of where they live. Our work is especially focused on the public, charter, and vocational schools in the State of Ohio. We work from a political framework that is focused on systemic social change through racial justice and human rights fulfillment in public education. We want to impact how school discipline practices are being utilized as pushout mechanisms into the criminal justice system, leading to racial disparate impact and criminalization of African American families. We also want to impact how and what our children are taught, while working to keep the PUBLIC in public education.”