Public Gets Their Say In Bell Elementary Skit Controversy - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Public Gets Their Say In Bell Elementary Skit Controversy

  "A few minutes of poor judgement has set us back more than 50 years," says Bell Elementary parent Kimberly Russell.
  Every single person at the microphone Thursday night had passionate views on this controversy. As expected they were on very opposite sides of the issue.
  "You can build a wall or you can build a bridge. If you allow this superintendent's decision to stand you have built a wall," says Bruce Bosley to school board members.
  "The portrayal of African-American teachers in a blatant racial context is unacceptable. There is not educational value in it. There is not humor in it," says concerned citizen Darrell Guthrie.
  Malcolm Jackson has two children at Bell, and says the stereotypes reportedly performed in the skit does not represent his kids. "They are not hip hop children, they are not even teenagers. Hip hop is not an excuse. I'm concerned about their education. I don't want anything underlying," he says as the crowd responded with an applause.
  John Tessyman, whose stepdaughter is one of the teachers involved, believes the punishment is harsh and offered a solution instead. "I think these roasts need to come to an end because of the tragedy that has occurred," which also gained crowd applause.
  By law, officials could not comment on what was said. But the debate continued after the public comment portion of the meeting ended. "I'm a person of color and I'm not offended because I don't take it out of context," says Bell parent Bruce Barnes.
  "There's no facts. Nobody has seen this roast. These teachers have no marks in their files at all. Okay maybe they were wrong to some extent so reprimand them!," says Bell parent Tanya Payne in support of the teacher.
  After the meeting we caught up with TISD Superintendent Dr. David Simmons for his take on the public comments. "A lot of emotion, a lot of passion came out, a lot of strong feelings, and we appreciate that. I can tell you this board takes everything in consideration. It's not always pleasant but it is helpful to hear from the community," says Dr. Simmons.
  Supporters of the board's decision say, there's more people out there who should take responsibility, specifically Bell principal Dr. Sandra Love. They called on the board to remove her and others who are in charge at Bell, who allowed this skit happen. KLTV 7 has asked TISD before if any action would be taken against Dr. Love. They would only say they don't comment on specific personnel issues, only that they're continuing to investigate "everyone" that may be involved.

Christine Nelson reporting.

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