Parents protest; call for removal of Biloxi schools superintendent - - The News for South Mississippi

Parents protest; call for removal of Biloxi schools superintendent


By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – "All we're saying is what about the children?" a group of parents and grandparents chanted that phrase Monday morning.

Their protests are getting louder and their emotions are more evident.

"We're very angry," said Judy Jackson, who has a son and a daughter at Biloxi High School.

"I'm not angry, I'm upset," said Eula Crowell, a former Biloxi school teacher.

At 7:30 Monday morning, 20 parents and young children rallied right under the office of Biloxi Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Tisdale.

"Why the parents can't speak?  Why the parents can't voice their opinion in whatever decision the school board makes?" asked Shelia McIntyre, who has grandchildren and a niece at Nichols Elementary.

The group marched, prayed, and pleaded with each school board member. 

"Kenny Holloway, can you help us?" the group chanted.  "David Blaine, can you help us?"

The Concerned Citizens for Education" staged the vocal gathering to protest the school board's decision to close Nichols Elementary, Beauvoir Elementary, and Michel Sixth Grade Schools.

"We can't put the blame, all of it on Tisdale.  His school board has to bear the blame now," Crowell told the group.

"There's no way for us to tell our children down the line that we did the best that we could ten years from now, if we can't do the best we can for them right now," said Lester Averhart, who once attended Nichols.

The parents circulated two petitions, one against the school closures, the other against Tisdale.

"We have over 1,200 petitions, and we're not scared to say it, for the removal of him from superintendent," Crowell said as she showed the signatures.

And the group vowed to keep protesting, until school district leaders change their minds.

"We're hoping we can come together and sit down and compromise," said Jackson.  "I don't know what that compromise could be, if not closing all three of the schools, maybe just closing one of the schools."

"Those schools are part of history to us and history is something that if you don't handle it right, it can and will be erased," said Averhart.

The parents plan to return to the same spot Tuesday morning for another protest.  They will also present their petitions to the Biloxi City Council Tuesday. 

After the protest, Dr. Tisdale told WLOX News that budget cuts and low enrollment are big problems in his district.  

"People are emotionally tied to their schools and their children's schools, so I am not surprised by their protest," Tisdale said.

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