Civil Rights Groups to Demand an End to Discriminatory Practices in Anne Arundel County Schools: Press Conf. Aug 1

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Educational leader Dr. Akeda Pearson was among those who specialized in helping Anne Arundel students of color but was let go in a 2014 AACPS "reorganization." She fights on nevertheless, as does NAACP allied with other organizations.

The Anne Arundel County Branch of the NAACP et al. have for decades been demanding justice for equitable and equal educational opportunities, and equal outcomes and accountability for discriminatory practices. Although progress was made with a 2005 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), in lieu of continuing lawsuits against the Board of Education (BOE) for Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS), the MOA was breached in 2014. This has had the effect of castrating our efforts.

Four years ago, one of the most community-friendly and useful offices within AACPS was summarily sacked under the guise of a “reorganization.” In one fell swoop, the office upon which so many in our community relied to advocate for children “of color” in AACPS, and to share and explain the statistics related to our children’s performance, was decimated. In this purge, several very capable staff were let go. Among those who filed Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints was Dr. Akeda Pearson, who has persevered and will be taking her case to court. Justice Delayed Will NOT Be Justice Denied!

Civil rights groups are demanding answers and solutions. The leadership of the BOE and AACPS must immediately demonstrate that they have the capacity to accurately explain and address the alarming numbers of discriminatory acts against African American students and school personnel, as well as their failure to act on complaints and concerns of parents with Special Needs students. The impact of breaching the MOA and violating the public trust has diminished the transparency promised in the MOA with respect to monitoring improved academic achievement, the disparate disciplining of African American students, and viable, consistent community engagement since the Office of Equity and Human Relations was dismantled for no apparent reason. The demand also includes justice for Dr. Akeda Pearson and that AACPS make room for leaders who are able to restore the confidence of county residents and supporters of children, parents, and employees of AACPS.

The BOE and AACPS have consistently failed the community, especially minority students and employees who support minority students.

The Anne Arundel County Branch of the NAACP demands that the BOE and Anne Arundel County Public Schools:

  • Dispel racial discrimination and all acts of discrimination in the school system
  • Develop a strategic plan involving community leaders to address racial discrimination and all acts of discrimination
  • Appoint a human relations specialist to address bias-motivated incidents and employee complaints
  • Provide resources to students who have suffered discrimination and racial trauma at schools
  • Demonstrate that they are working toward justice for individuals who have suffered discrimination, hostile work environments, and retaliation
  • By 1 September 2018, develop a strategic plan to prevent the injustices that have already been endured by minority students and employees who support minority students

It is paramount that justice be achieved for all students, employees, and parents, because discriminatory behavior adversely affects us all.

A press conference will be held Wednesday, August 1, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. at the Wiley Bates Legacy Center, 1101 Smithville Avenue, Annapolis, Maryland. The public is welcome to attend.

ABOUT THE NAACP:

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting NAACP.org.naacp.org/membership. To become a member of the NAACP Anne Arundel County Branch, visit www.AnneArundelCountyNAACP.org.

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