NAACP will hold community forum Monday evening

The public is being encouraged to attend the NAACP’s Wicomico County Community Meeting, planned to discuss concerns about school-based arrests, suspensions and discrimination in schools.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 8, in the St. James A.M.E.  Zion Church Mack Education Center on Mack Avenue.

Ronnell D. Jacobs, a youth advisor affiliated with the NAACP, said the meeting will “bring out some concerns in the community.”

“We want to show the community we are here and we listen to everyone. It’s not just for the NAACP. We are a branch of this meeting but it is also other leaders that will be taking action in this meeting,” Jacobs said.

He told the Salisbury Independent he didn’t know of specific incidents that have occurred in schools, but posting on Facebook, he asked, “Do you think your child has been treated unfairly at school?”

“Do you think there needs to be a change in the way suspensions are done? This is your time to speak. Parents are all welcome. We have to come together and stop what’s been going on,” he wrote.

Paul Butler, Communications Director for the Wicomico County Board of Education, said he knows of no incidents that prompted the meeting.

“We haven’t heard anything. I don’t know where it’s coming from. Maybe there’s a concerned parent, but nobody has brought anything to us. If anybody thinks there’s a problem, they can talk to the principal or go to a board meeting and we will certainly address it,” Butler said.

Local resident James Yamakawa said he will attend the NAACP meeting because he is concerned about “the general feel of where we are as a country right now.”

“America was founded on an idea of white supremacy and that hasn’t gone anywhere.  It’s just more obvious now and we can’t and shouldn’t ignore it anymore. And there’s no reason to think that it’s not affecting the youth in our schools if it’s affecting the rest of the country.

“And that effect obviously extends to other marginalized groups – LGBT, immigrant, Muslim, Latinx, etc.

“In this climate, we have to be vigilant in making sure that the most vulnerable students are in an environment where they can not only feel safe but where they can flourish.

“I would say ask the youth direction, what do they think? They’re the ones who need to be heard most of all,” Yamakawa said.

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