June 8, 2007
Reported By: Lee Peck
Just three days after the Calcasieu Parish School Board voted 9 to 6 to close Lake Charles Boston High School, members of the local and state NAACP took their fight to the steps of the School Board Office.
"We are tired of the noose that is being placed around our public school children," said Louisiana NAACP President Ernest Johnson.
Johnson says LCB students and others across the state are being held accountable to unconstitutional tests -- mainly the LEAP and Graduation Exit Exam -- tests which the NAACP says are designed to set schools and students up for failure.
"As a result of this tests, schools like W.O. Boston is being closed. Both of these tests are not approved by the state legislature. They were not approved by the state constitution. They were approved by BESE solely on a zone arbitrarily," said Johnson.
"What we are trying to do as the NAACP is that we have to close this door right here. This is the pipeline to incarceration. If the school doors are the pipeline to incarceration, we have to raise awareness so these kids don't have to run," said Lake Charles NAACP President Wilbert Johnson.
A resolution passed recently at the NAACP State Conference is demanding the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and Governor Kathleen Blanco abolish the penalty provisions of these tests, which fail kids, and uphold the state course and G.P.A. requirements as the standard for graduation.
"We are going to impose upon BESE to change these tests. When these tests are changed, the basis for which this school was closed will no longer be there and so that will be an illegal closing," said Johnson.
To see that these demands are met, the NAACP and an army of members from across the state plan to march before BESE to state their case or else. "We need to boycott every business that does business with these people, who vote against our public schools. We want them to know that we came to Lake Charles today to declare war on them. And we are not going to take it anymore," said Johnson.
If their demands go unheard, they say their next steps would lead to the courts.
Calcasieu Schools Superintendent Wayne Savoy says he would not comment at this time about the NAACP's claims because he was not at their press conference. Meanwhile, the NAACP will march before BESE in Baton Rouge on June 30th.
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