The chairman of the Floyd County Board of Education and two members of the NAACP’s Rome Branch have agreed to meet to discuss last week’s developments at Coosa High School as well as a March situation.
Board chair Dr. Tony Daniel says he spoke with both Sara Dahlice Malone, NAACP’s local chair, and branch executive Charles Love on Wednesday morning. The conversation, which Love called “very amicable,” dealt with learning more about last week’s incidents that took on racial implications.
A date will be set after this week’s fall break ends.
Video and pictures show students on campus with a Confederate flag, protests from other students including some wearing Black Lives Matter shirts, a now-suspended teacher showcasing a Trump flag in class and some Facebook Live recordings, one with several F-bombs. Several students on either side reportedly have faced disciplinary action; the school system does not comment on such issues (see second letter below). Helping fuel the issue is a recirculated video from last March of a now-removed Coosa High student using the N-word as he looks directly into the camera.
Events surrounding that March situation will be part of the school board/NAACP dialogue. Last week, both Malone and Love said they never received a response to the letter to the school system about racial condtitoins.
On Wednesday, copies of that response were shared with the media as well as updates saying both letter and email copies were sent. Love repeated on Wednesday that he never got a copy of the response. We have calls into Malone. The copies of the response Hometown Headlines received show “internal” email addresses.
The original letter appears first. Following it is an electronic copy of the school system’s reply from attorney L. Stewart Duggan of Brinson Askew Berry.
The response letter/email is dated March 31, 2021:
Dear Ms. Sara Dahlice Malone,
This firm represents Floyd County Schools, and your letter to Dr. Glenn White has been shared with our office. Floyd County Schools appreciates your letter, and it also takes very seriously all allegations of racial animus that your letter outlines and describes in more detail. Please recognize that Floyd County Schools neither condones nor tolerates any racially charged statements, any expressions or conduct reflecting racial animus, or any other expressions of hatred toward African-Americans and African-American students.
We also ask that you recognize and appreciate that Floyd County Schools is, unfortunately, prohibited from sharing information about students or about its investigations into student misconduct because of privacy laws and other federal restrictions imposed upon it like, for example, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Nonetheless, please know that Floyd County Schools is very attentive to your letter and all reports expressing concerns like yours. Also be assured that Floyd County Schools is very attentive to and proactive in promptly investigating, addressing, and dealing with all such reports of racial animus and will not tolerate such repugnant behaviors.
We appreciate your letter and expressed concerns. Floyd County Schools always welcomes letters expressing concerns from your local NAACP chapter and also welcomes concerns from all other concerned citizens. If you become aware of any other reports of racial incidents, we would very much appreciate your notifying us at once.
Thank you again,
Saturday afternoon, a West Rome church off John Davenport and Division Street serves as the meeting place between concerned students and parents from Coosa HIgh and members of the local NAACP branch.
Amid tables and chairs set up in the community center, people stopped in to talk about racial concerns not just from an anxious week at the school but earlier concerns that they say went undressed.
Saturday’s message from the NAACP, says chair Sara Dahlice Malone, was one of conservation, patience and organization. Most important, says Malone, was the message for the parents to organize among themselves first. There has been outreach from other community-based groups but for now, Malone says, the parents must first come together.
During that process, the NAACP’s executive committee will review what members heard on Saturday afternoon and then decide other next steps.
As for the school: Floyd County Schools are on fall break through Friday and the following Monday is a teacher work day which means an extra student holiday.
A two-hour listening session is set for Saturday afternoon between the Rome Branch of the NAACP and Coosa High students and parents over reports of racial tensions this past week as well as an unresolved concern from March of this year.
The meeting is set for 1:30 until 3:30 p.m. at New Life of St. John Baptist Church in hopes of getting a “clear understanding” of the situation at the high school, says Sara Dahlice Malone, chair of the Rome/Floyd County Branch of the NAACP.
Friday night, she described it as an “informational meeting” to learn more about what might have happened in order to “help the students, parents and school administration” at Coosa High.
Malone referenced a letter to Dr. Glenn White, superintendent of Floyd County Schools, sent by the NAACP in March about earlier reports of “alleged racial incidents.” She said the chapter never received a response. (see letter, above).
Charles Love, a vice president with the NAACP chapter, described the meeting as a “listening session” in order to “get together all the information we can” about recent reports.
Rome News-Tribune: NAACP to meet with Coosa High School parents Saturday after complaints of racial harassment. Click RNT.
Extra police campus Friday. Extra security was at Coosa High School following escalating events Thursday fueled by racial concerns. A video showing students with a Confederate flag on campus is part of the reason. Fox 5 Atlanta shared that video and talked with the student who took it late Thursday and says while no protests are permitted today, some students planned to wear “Black Lives Matter” shirts to classes today. Fox 5
- Well-timed fall break: After today, Coosa and all Floyd County Schools students are off until Tuesday, Oct. 19 (fall break followed by a teacher planning day on Oct. 18).
This is homecoming week at Coosa High School with traditional events scheduled. But since Monday, there has been some tension as USA Day apparently brought out a few confederate flags, some Black Lives Matter items and apparently a now-dismissed teacher displaying a Trump flag in class.
Floyd County Schools administrators as well as Floyd County Police have been at the school on Thursday. Smartphone vidoes of some of the confrontations as well as others tracking resource officers and the teacher flag incident are bouncing around Facebook Thursday afternoon. Also being distributed is a former student making a racial slur in front of the school’s sports photo backdrop before he left the school system.
This note Thursday afternoon:
This is Judson Cox, principal at Coosa High School with an important issue I want to discuss with our parents and students. Today, there was a disruption during the school day that caused frustration among the student body. School and district administrators are currently investigating this issue as well as racially motivated social media posts that were brought to our attention.
These posts and actions are despicable to us and a violation of Coosa High and Floyd County Schools’ mission and values. Students who participated in these actions will be dealt with in accordance with Floyd County Board of Education policies.
(Friday), there will be an increased police presence and additional staff members to keep the integrity of the instructional school day. Only business essential visitors will be allowed on our campus. Trespassers will be prosecuted. We are planning on a safe and normal day at Coosa High School.
When students hear a rumor, they need to immediately report it to the school administration or Officer Brooks instead of posting it on social media, which can hinder an investigation. Working together we can maintain an environment where students are free to focus on learning.
If students or parents would like to privately discuss their concerns with administration, we invite them to schedule a meeting by contacting the school directly at 706-236-1870.
An earlier comment said Floyd Schools does not comment on personnel issues (the teacher).
Floyd Police hve shared this statement:
“We are aware of comments from a student hoping to incite a protest. We are investigating the comments and are monitoring the situation to ensure the safety of everyone involved. We are working closely with the School Board to ensure safety.”