Fort Worth minister calls for boycott of Arlington

Posted Friday, Apr. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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ARLINGTON -- School trustees Thursday night heard more public comment about racism in general and the handling of a middle school special education classroom incident in particular.

The comments came during the open forum portion of the meeting, and trustees were not allowed to respond.

In his second appearance before the board, the Rev. Kyev Tatum, president of the Texas Southern Christian Leadership Conference, declared that the board's attitude toward him "is indefensible and reprehensible."

"We are calling for all citizens of good conscience to not spend money in Arlington," he said.

One person applauded enthusiastically.

Another speaker, Cara Hackley of Arlington, said, "For an individual outside of our community to make accusations having to do with the color of someone's skin is a travesty."

Hackley described herself as "very supportive of teachers."

"I've never seen racial division until recently," she said.

The comments are the latest about an incident in January at Boles Junior High School. A white special education teacher has admitted pouring pencil shavings into a sleeping black student's mouth. The teacher initially was suspended for two weeks and formally reprimanded. The student's mother made a second complaint in late February, and the district put the teacher on leave again.

District officials this week would not discuss the teacher's status, saying it is a personnel matter.

Hackley said she has known the Boles teacher for 16 years.

"She loves people of all colors and all backgrounds," Hackley said. "Before people make accusations, they should get to know the individual. My request is that the board does what is right for all people. Look at the individual's record."

The audience applauded when she said the actions of some "dilute the true meaning of racism."

Her husband, Tom Hackley, also spoke.

"My understanding is that the administration dealt with this, thought it was over, and then an outside influence decided that for AISD it wasn't over," he said.

"I want to make sure you ask yourselves, 'Am I acting my own conscience, or am I afraid of what the court of public opinion might be saying?'"

The fourth speaker, Clifton Edwards, said: "I'm simply here as a citizen of Arlington, and there are several situations at schools concerning teachers that I'm not happy about.

"I grew up in Los Angeles so it's hard to understand why racism is so prevalent in Texas. I've never seen so many outrageous acts against African-Americans. When I was growing up, school was a safe haven."

In other business, the board named new principals for Bowie and Seguin high schools, and for Nichols Junior High as part of a restructuring plan.

William Manley, interim principal at Bowie, was given the job permanently. Samuel Nix was named principal of Seguin. And Julie Harcrow was named principal of Nichols Junior High.

Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657

Twitter: @startelegram

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