LEE’S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) -- The Lee’s Summit School Board will publicly address a rather nasty battle they have been trying to resolve behind the scenes.
With the superintendent threatening to walk, Investigative Reporter Angie Ricono reviews below how things have gotten to such a point.
The school district is trying to make things fair but getting there is tough.
Lee’s Summit made national news after a recent board meeting where a board member discussed “driving while blonde.”
The sheriff said there have been threats and protection for the superintendent.
Behind all of that is simply the push to level the playing field for all students.
If you haven’t heard about equity in schools, chances are you soon will. Districts are hiring special equity officers and advisers to crunch data and see which groups of students are falling behind and why.
The groups districts are focusing on are:
- Students who are minorities
- Students on free/reduced lunch
- Students with disabilities
- Students on education plans
- Students who are English language learners
Test scores in Lee’s Summit show those groups trail far behind their peers. Year after year, it stays the same or gets worse.
The district presented a PowerPoint presentation to board members. The superintendent wants to help them and, as part of that plan, he redrew the school boundaries and that led to some nasty tension in the district. Some parents aired their feelings on Facebook.
That was the backdrop for a recent board meeting where the superintendent pushed for the first step in the district’s formal equity plan. And, a board member responded with a comment that made national news.
She can be heard on video saying, "I just don't like the word privilege. Because I have privileges if someone's going to hire a female, then sorry buddy you're not getting the job. Or, if they're looking for a Spanish, they might choose J.Lo over me, I don't know."
“I never drive my car and think about the cop behind me and get anxious about what might happen to me," another board member said.
“Honey, I’m blonde," the first said. "I do.”
That first board member has since apologized for her comments.
Jackson County Sheriff Daryl Forte also took to Facebook posting, “Most of you probably are not aware that at one point during Dr. Carpenter’s tenure as superintendent he and his family had security protection stationed at their residence because of threats.”
Sheriff Forte even posted the nasty emails: “Has that negro apologized for his racist comments and behavior? Sounds like he has black privilege.”
It’s unclear what that message referred to, just that it’s awful.
The superintendent is now threatening to walk. He did not want to sit down and talk before Thursday night’s board meeting and neither did any school board members.