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Group calls board member’s comments racist



Published: Tue, January 29, 2013 @ 12:06 a.m.

photo

Lock P. Beachum Sr.

By Denise Dick

denise_dick@vindy.com

Youngstown

A community group is taking offense at what it calls “racist” comments made by a veteran city school board member and threatens sanctions if the school board doesn’t take corrective action.

At a school board meeting last week during a discussion about losing students and the effect on school finances, Lock P. Beachum Sr., longtime board member, said the district was losing its best students. He expressed doubt about the district climbing out of academic watch if it continues to lose the best students.

He pointed out that many people perceive the district as an all-black school district — 90 percent of the white students have left the district — and said that a diversified student population improves academic performance for all students.

The Parent Student Union and United Front for Educational Justice, in a news release, call Beachum’s comments “disrespectful, unacceptable and racist.” The group has in the past challenged the school board about the way black students are educated in city schools.

“If the above comment by school board member Beachum had been made by a right-wing white, male Republican politician, businessman, teacher or principal, the black community leadership, including board members, would be calling for him or her to resign or be fired,” the group’s news release says. “But because board member Beachum is black, he is being given a ‘pass’ by the other four black board members and civil-rights leaders within the community.”

They say the board member’s comments give the impression that black children are “ignorant, stupid, inferior and ineducable without the presence of white children” and want Beachum to recant his statements.

Beachum said he wasn’t saying anything derogatory about any students of any race.

“As someone who grew up in the South during segregation in the ’50s and ’60s, I’d be the last person to say that,” he said.

Beachum is an Alabama native.

“We have to be able to attract students of all abilities and to challenge them,” he said. “I would want my children or grandchildren to go to the best school where they would be challenged.”

Beachum also said in an email that the “Youngstown School District has much to offer all students regardless of race, creed or color. I fully believe in the Declaration of Independence. All Men are created equal. I will continue to work to provide excellent education for all students in the Youngstown schools as I did as principal. Parents, you do not need to leave our district for an effective education.”

Board President Richard Atkinson said he wasn’t offended by Beachum’s comments and didn’t view them as racist.

“We have to attract the best students to the school district” regardless of race, he said.

The group calls on other school board members to repudiate Beachum’s comments. It wants Atkinson to write a letter to the parent of every black student in the school district saying Beachum’s comments don’t represent the views of the city schools.

If no corrective action is taken by Friday, the group says it will have a news conference to announce what “sanctions” will be applied.


Comments

1girardguy(7 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

No one with the resources to send their children elsewhere would send their kids to YPS. Virtually all the talented students of all races have left the District through open enrollment or vouchers. The only students left are those that have severe disciplinary problems, or are such poor academic performers that the neighboring districts will not take them. What Mr. Beachum stated was not racist, but simply a fact. The Parent Student Union and United Front for Educational Justice should work with Mr. Beachum and the rest of the board to try and find solutions to the problems instead of making racial accusations.

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2lee(544 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

This problem will continue until we can start talking about it with out calling each other names

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3DwightK(1181 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

This group would better serve the public if they could identify the issues that lead to the dismal graduation rate within city schools.

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4bumbob(124 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

"He.... said that a diversified student population improves academic performance for all students."

I see nothing racist about those kind of words. The logic that he's following is the same kind that is often invoked when defending affirmative action, so the objection I'm hearing from the Parent Student Union and United Front for Educational Justice doesn't really make any sense. And you really have to be careful when you accuse someone of racism since if your claim turns out to be insubstantial you can basically be dismissed as alarmist.

The two groups should have chosen their words more carefully and focused on a more calculated response to Mr. Beachum.

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5Westsider(216 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

I served with Mr. Beachum on the Youngstown Board of Education and can assure you that he is not a racist. However, his comments have more than a ring of truth to them and sometimes the truth hurts. Instead of criticizing him, why not work together to find solutions? The Youngstown School District is living on borrowed time - but that doesn't mean city students do not need an education. The neighboring districts with open enrollment do not want kids who are hard to teach, hard to reach and harder to love.

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6Lifes2Short(3867 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

"“If the above comment by school board member Beachum had been made by a right-wing white, male Republican politician, businessman, teacher or principal, the black community leadership, including board members, would be calling for him or her to resign or be fired,” the group’s news release says. “But because board member Beachum is black, he is being given a ‘pass’ by the other four black board members and civil-rights leaders within the community.”"

This is what I've always said. If a black says it, it is OK but God forbid a white does, it's racism. Amazing society we live in.

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7gdog4766(1263 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

Many statements made though factual will be called racist. If I were to say the majority of crimes committed in Youngstown are committed by blacks I would be accused of racism. Even if that statement were supported,by facts or reports. The mere fact that I am white would render that statement as racist period.

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8uselesseater(229 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

The Youngstown City Schools wouldn't be the way they are if we'd DEFUNDED THEM.

At last count, the District is receiving over $17k per student. That's obscene. More than YSU charges.

What is more offensive than that is the fact that the District inevitably is disproportionately funded by tax sources that are not from the pockets of Ytown citizens and businesses, but rather from the productive citizens state and nationwide.

Often those same people are funding their own better performing school districts while chipping in to compensate for Youngstown's inabilities.

I find it entertaining to see a group jump the unicorn and throw the rubber bouncing racist card down. We've become this moronic that everything just has to be about race. Divide and conquer, over nothing. Skin pigment. Do that instead of addressing the real issues.

90% of white students have left the District? Ouch. Why do we think these folks have fled the District? Can't be the violence, criminal centric masses and inferior education can it be?

I'd like to see a comparison of the District:

1. What percentage of students that have married parents have left the District?

2. What percentage of students who have left are from single parent households?

3. As a percentage of those that have left, what is the division by gender?

Compare those outcomes to the students who linger in Ytown City schools.

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9One_Who_Stayed(236 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

It's looking more and more as though the state should dissolve the YCSD.

As uselesseater said:

"At last count, the District is receiving over $17k per student. That's obscene. More than YSU charges.

What is more offensive than that is the fact that the District inevitably is disproportionately funded by tax sources that are not from the pockets of Ytown citizens and businesses, but rather from the productive citizens state and nationwide.

Often those same people are funding their own better performing school districts while chipping in to compensate for Youngstown's inabilities."

Let's see how well the schools in the burbs do trying to educate these little monsters that are left, since they have, up until now, been able to cherry pick the "desirable" students (and the revenue that comes with them) without having to deal with the problem cases.

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10wcoleman6(2 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

First of all, I am a parent of children in the Youngstown City School system. I am also a Black woman who is very involved in all aspects of her children's learning. Secondly, it would not matter if Mr. Beachum was Black, White, Purple or Orange, his remarks were totally racist and he owes taxpaying citizens and parents of YCS students a public apology. I am also a member of the Parent Student Union and we have been trying to work with the Administration of the YCS only to receive shuck and jive answers and no results. Mr. Beachum is not worried about the Black students of the school system. He only wants White students to come back into the school system to make it look good on paper and those same Black students that are struggling to achieve will still be on the bottom. HOW DARE HE INSINUATE THAT A BLACK CHILD CAN'T LEARN BECAUSE THERE IS NOT ENOUGH WHITE CHILDREN IN CLASS. His being raised in Alabama is neither here nor there. Ignorance does not pick what state it will reside in. As for all you naysayers, come to a meeting with us or better yet go into a YCS to see for yourself what's going on. All school systems are struggling, with a majority White as well as a majority Black students. I wouldn't stand in your kitchen and say you didn't cook the meal if I didn't see you cook it. The same holds true for my kitchen!

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11ytowntechie(5 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

As a minority that grew up in the Youngstown Area, I do not feel that Mr. Beachum's comments are or should be considered racist. Think about it, Is the Youngstown City School student population over 90% African American? Is it not better to have a diversified student body? Is it not true that with voucher systems and open enrollment, that the best, brightest, and most athletic are opting out of attending Youngstown City Schools and moving to school systems that have open enrollment? If you answer all of the questions above, you will see that the answer to all is yes! Something must be done to encourage growth and change within the school system or else it will only continue to get worse.

The people that assume that Mr. Beachum has the impression that black children are “ignorant, stupid, inferior and ineducable without the presence of white children”" is taken out of context! Is that not why we have affirmative action because a diversified population improves performance and enhances culture?

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12depark01(1 comment)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

I can't believe the level of ignorance being displayed here. Mr. Beachum never implied that "Black Kids aren't smart" he simply stated that a diversified setting will make every student better. By my last recollection, Dr. King fought so that black kids could sit in the same classroom with their white counterparts. Unless you black parents plan on your children working in "Blacks Only" establishments, I tend to think that teaching our kids that the world around us is diverse and not feeling as though we are inferior it will make them stronger better people as adults. And for those questioning my ethnicity, I'm an African American, college educated, professional man that has dealt with diversity my entire life.

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13Lifes2Short(3867 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

cole

""Secondly, it would not matter if Mr. Beachum was Black, White, Purple or Orange, his remarks were totally racist and he owes taxpaying citizens and parents of YCS students a public apology.""

A apology for WHAT?

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