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Sherrod, Group takes Baker School Board gripes to attorney general

Shirley Sherrod

Shirley Sherrod

NEWTON, Ga. — Representatives of the Baker County Community Council, led by community activist Shirley Sherrod, met with Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens Wednesday morning to discuss their concerns regarding the Baker County School Board.

"Baker County has a long history of racial inequality," said Sherrod, "and there is a new school board in the county that has increased the racial tensions in our community. It has to stop.

"What is most distressing is that the board is paying no attention to what all this is doing to our children and their learning."

In a news release issued Wednesday, the group wrote, "The Baker County School Board, having recently changed from a predominantly black to a majority white board, has raised numerous questions even regarding the election of some of the board members themselves and the parameters of the voting districts."

Group spokeswoman Nettie Lilly said the group enjoyed a productive meeting with Olens.

"We took a busload of people from Baker County and Dougherty County and had a very good meeting with the attorney general this morning," Lilly said. "We discussed the lack of open meetings and open records by the Baker County School Board, but our main concern is safety in our schools. The principal (Torrance Choates) is ignoring parents' concerns in regard to bullying.

"Quite frankly, we are scared for the safety of our children."

In the news release, the group contends there is a number of potential violations enacted by the School Board, yet to be affirmed, including a breach of Georgia's Open Meetings Act, possible first amendment violations due to the board not allowing requests for input from the community at a meeting, firing of teachers that might violate equal protection laws and altering of school district lines to elect school board members that might violate the Voting Rights Act.

The issue came to a head recently when the School Board fired teachers Mabel Rogers and Sandra Jones after the two were involved in an anti-Choates demonstration in the school hallway.

Jones is Sherrod's sister.

"The School Board's biased decision-making and noncompliance of board policies is unacceptable. We want to bring attention to the board's practices, disparities and inappropriate actions," the release added. "With the recent firing of the superintendent, the assistant principal and some of the best teachers within the system, our students are suffering. We are requesting that the newly hired principal, who is responsible for these firings, be removed from his position."

Comments

chinaberry25 11 months ago

What involvement does she have. I have heard she was born there, as I was born in Dougherty Co. But neither one of us lives in the county we were born in. I know that it does not give me the right to make a comment or meet with a lawyer about DCSS. How does she know what is going on there except through hear say. And we know how that goes. She does not teach there and her kids are most likely too old to go to school there. So why her involvement? Fools names and fools faces always seen in public places.

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GG126 11 months ago

Get real...you and everyone else in south Georgia knows the history of Baker County! We all know what goes on there and it is not all hearsay. I applaud Mrs. Sherrod for speaking up for the citizens of Baker County.

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waltspecht 11 months ago

When you have several Million is settlement money, you get to direct your interests elsewhere. You live on your Lee County Plantation and tell the poor fplks in Baker how they are being treated in unfair. If she really wanted to help, she would have given that settlement money to assist the Citizens of Baker County, especially the minority Farmers that are still there.

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Terry.Lewis 11 months ago

The former Cypress Pond Plantation is in Dougherty County

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waltspecht 11 months ago

I'm getting old, my memory isn't perfect anymore. Plus I don't have Mary to verify my facts like someone I know.

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jglass 11 months ago

Lee County Plantation.....I thought she purchased Cypress Pond Plantation in South Dougherty County. Since her fiasco with the government, I have also heard that she got farming monies and others got farming monies fraudulently. Anyway, I was also wondering why she is heading this ordeal in the Baker County School System.

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bennydawg 11 months ago

Let me guess...your "remedy" is to add blacks to the school board regardless of their qualifications or background. If someone wants to talk about "violations" why dont we take a real close look at the non-profit organizations that the Sherrod's have created. The Sherrods are by far some of the most racist people in the entire state. What a joke.

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bennydawg 11 months ago

They did purchase Cypress Pond Plantation and have completely ruined what was once a beautiful house.

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Cap88 11 months ago

Actually, She lives in a residential Albany neighborhood off Westover road. Her not-for-profit organization purchased the former Cypress Pond Plantation with the express use of community & economic development & their progress is exciting. Do some research before exposing your ignorance.

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Abytaxpayer 11 months ago

@ Cap "Do some research before exposing your ignorance." New Communities will enlighten you. Yet another Sherrod not-not-for Profit.

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Cap88 11 months ago

Actually, she lives in a residential Albany neighborhood off Westover road. Her not-for-profit organization purchased the former Cypress Pond Plantation with the express intention of community & economic development. Do some research before exposing your ignorance.

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FryarTuk 11 months ago

Jeez, another not for profit. I hope the land didn't lose its taxation rights. I would hate for them to be discriminated against.

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jglass 11 months ago

What are they using that land for at that location now?

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truthsayer 11 months ago

Just another leech on society that conned the government into giving her money for some ungodly reason. Now she has time to run around the country like ole Jessie and stir up crap. If she really cared she would investigate and find the truth before inviting reporters for the exposure. She should know first hand what happens when you put unqualified people in positions they were never qualified to do in the first place. Case in point, DCSS. But now there seems to be hope with the house sweeping of unqualified, over payed dead beats that has nearly ruined the whole structure of the school system. So shut the blank up and mind your own business.

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agirl_25 11 months ago

You mentioned Ole Jesse.....hahaha... don't hear a lot from him since his little boy got into big trouble now, do we?

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Abytaxpayer 11 months ago

@ Terry "New Communities" in Lee county ring any bells? But let's not dig up those bones....aka Shirley's skeleton ! Just another scam run by someone who's "Grand Plan" on paper sounded good.

Love the tag line..."there is a new school board in the county that has increased the racial tensions in our community. It has to stop." So where was This "Black Leader" when the DCSS board was being run so well they had to hire the #34 least qualified to lead DCSS....

This race baiting is way past old.....

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Terry.Lewis 11 months ago

Yes, I am familiar with New Communities. I am also aware that the Sherrods were the single largest Pigford Settlement recipients at $13.8 million. I wrote extensively on it two or three years ago..

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erock 11 months ago

I'm glad this came to the light. Now, if the DCSS would follow suit they may be able to turn things around and actually start educating their students.

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stredr357 11 months ago

All she is doing is being vindictive. Her high salaried sister was terminated. Her contract was not renewed. I appalaude the Baker Co. Board for doing what needed to be done for a long time. Most of the whites have left the school system and most of the good teachers also through retirement or non=renewal of contracts.
Alot of these teachers are extremely over-paid for what they do. When the valedictorian has a GPA of 2.5 the blame lies on the parents and the teachers for not teaching. I live in the State of Baker and like many other whites, moved my children to other school systems because of the lack of good teachers and other major problems there after the high school was brought back. Ms. Sherrod is a race baiter much like ole Jessie and loves to see her name in the paper. She needs to keep her fat a$$ out of Baker Co.'s problems and let the School Board do its business.

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RedEric 10 months, 3 weeks ago

A teacher is involved in a demonstration against the Principal IN THE SCHOOL HALLWAYS!!!! Sounds like anarchy to me. The parents should be concerned about their children's safety. Shirley Sherrod, why does this person get so much traction with her comments? People like this suck the lifeblood out of our society. We understand and sympathize with the accusation that elections can be rigged. We are living with it for the next 3 years, 6 months and 10 days approx., not that I am counting. I am not worried about Zombies, I am worried about Vampires like the Sherrods.

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