During three public hearings this past week, some members of the Beaumont Independent School District Board of Trustees were more concerned about past transgressions than they were about the will of the people to change from a seven single-member districts to five single-members districts with two at-large positions.
The people have spoken, and it is time that board members stuck in the past give way to the future and stop looking back. Yes, there were egregious acts that took place for which there was no excuse. It was wrong and it was changed.
This country, this state and this community have come too far to let something like that happen again. BISD’s board president Woodrow Reece tried to scare the public by saying a new board could bring sweeping changes to the student assignment plan and put black students back in sub-standard schools with no books and inadequate supplies.
That was just smoke and mirrors.
“The thousand pound gorilla is race, and it is about power; that is why the suggestion was made to change things,” said Carter Williams, one of nearly 40 black residents to speak against the five-two plan. “It is all about power and race. Say it, so we will all understand what you are talking about.”
BISD’s Web site states, “The mission of the Beaumont Independent School District, as the unifying force of the community, is to guarantee that our graduates possess the necessary skills, values and knowledge to compete successfully as productive citizens.
What happened to that mission? Why isn’t the board of trustees focused on educating children rather than how voters will reelect them to office?
During one of the meetings, a group of young adults stood up and pleaded with the board to look forward instead of backward. These young people are the parents of children currently enrolled in elementary schools throughout the district. They have a vested interest and should have a say in how the district operates. They aren’t asking to take away a position from someone currently serving on the board; they just want the board to move forward.
The only way the students of BISD should learn about hate is from history books, not seeing it firsthand in the people supposed to be leading this district.
The will of the people has been made clear. It’s time for the board to move ahead with the redistricting plan instead of fighting it at every turn. Trust that things will be done right. And if they aren’t, this newspaper will be the first to call for justice.