In the hours leading up to what has been expected to be yet another contentious Beaumont Independent School District meeting Thursday, April 18, Superintendent Dr. Tim Chargois went on the offensive – calling for “civility and humility” among factions of the community thriving on hatred and discord, and those promoting any agenda not centered on BISD student success.
In the midst of multiple court cases costing taxpayers in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, community backlash over perceived fiscal mismanagement, cries of rampant racism targeted at both black and white voters, and dwindling communication between fragmenting portions of the Beaumont populous, Chargois realizes he cannot ask for everyone to agree on matters impacting school district administration. But Dr. Chargois says he hopes those truly concerned about the future of BISD learn to “disagree in a respectful manner.”
“Beaumont ISD has faced a lot of issues as of late,” Chargois told a group of media representatives Wednesday, April 17. “I know we’ve had a lot of things go on in our district, but we cannot move forward as a district if we don’t figure out a way to come to the table together.”
Chargois expressed dismay in seeing confrontational interactions between the public and school board, racial slurs slung at board members, misinformation circulated in an attempt to discredit community leaders, and the general discontent of the BISD community. More importantly to him, Chargois added with emphasis, is the impact those actions are having on the students of BISD.
“The thing that will unite our community is our children; they’re the magnet that holds us together,” he said, before referring to an essay penned by BISD eighth grader Bassam Syed for submission to the Southeast Texas Better Business Bureau’s “Laws of Life” contest. For his entry, Syed spoke of respect, an element of civilized societies Chargois said Beaumonters of all backgrounds and colors can appreciate.
“I’ve always believed in the Golden Rule: Do unto others like you want them to treat you,” Chargois said. “Let us agree to respect each other and work together to move forward.”
Chargois then quoted President Franklin D. Roosevelt for inspiration: “In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice …, the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love toward our fellow man.”
For an editorial related to this story, see page 16 A.