Children are back on campus, as an apparent organized boycott of Tyler schools has begun to lose steam. The boycott was meant to get the attention of Tyler ISD Superintendent Dr. David Simmons over alleged arbitrary demotions of black male leaders, most notably John Tyler's Principal, Dr. Aubrey Todd. Attendance at the schools is now almost back to normal levels. District wide, around 92% of students attended school. 95% is normal. At John Tyler high school, attendance was at 82%, but that's still 13% below normal. Boulter Middle School saw a significant jump in attendance today with 87%. That's up from 66% yesterday. At Orr Elementary attendance was up to 92%. And at Ramey Elementary attendance was 86%. At it's height, the boycott included more than 2,000 kids.
But one African American family came forward today to say they didn't keep their kids out of school, and don't support the boycott, especially since the word was spread in church. Misty Daniels spent the afternoon picking her two boys up from school, just like she did yesterday and just like she did Wednesday. She did not participate in a school boycott. In fact, she says she was against it from the start. "I could have let my children stay home, but I would have been doing it in the wrong reasons," said Daniels. "I would have been teaching them, it's OK to lie. It's OK to miss school for a person. And it's not. You know, if we want to do what's right for this man at this school, then we need to do it the right way. We don't need to involve the children. We don't need to teach them at a young age now to lie, because that's something that they will grow up doing." Misty, as well as her mother Della Russell and her sister-in-law Chasitity Daniels, says they are angry about the boycott request, for the most part, because it came from their pastor during services last Sunday at People's Missionary Baptist Church. "You teach a child to go to school school, to get an education," said Della Russell. "But it's vice versa now. You stay out of school. You know, you play hooky, that's what it boils down to. You know, and it is wrong, and it's not of God." "My thing is to make sure you are boycotting for the right reason," added Chastity. "If you are, and make sure that, don't just do it because your pastor tells you to."
"A lot of people are angry, and I understand that," said Misty. "I get angry a lot of times too, and sometimes I want to react to that. But I thank God that he's ahead of my life and I say whoa, slow down. Let me seek God first." We spoke to Misty's pastor, Reverend Marcus Jackson of People's Missionary Baptist Church. He says he did mention to his congregation the request to keep kids out of school on Wednesday, but says he did not ask the parents to lie to the schools. In fact, he says when calling his children's schools, he told them he was keeping his kids home for "personal business". He does feel the boycott made a point. But, he says if asked to keep his kids out again, he probably would not.