McFarland and city school board owe NAACP leaders apology!

     Rodney McFarland and the Monroe City School Board, especially its black majority, owe the Black community an apology.

     Recently, members of the NAACP, which is a recognized, reputable group of black citizens, requested to speak to the school board concerning its request to be declared “Unitary” by the Federal Courts. Since being declared “Unitary” will directly have a major impact on the Black community, the NAACP felt compelled to address the matter with the school board and to request discussions about the implications of “Unitary Status.”

    Instead of listening to the NAACP, the school board chose to embarrass its leaders who came to peaceably and reasonably discuss a Black community concern.

    Not only were NAACP members disrespected and embarrassed by the board, McFarland told the Ambrose Douzart, the NAACP president before the meeting began that if the group signed up to speak at the meeting that he would embarrass them at the meeting. Therefore his actions were premeditation and designed to disrespect the organization’s leadership.

   Why wouldn’t McFarland want to hear from the NAACP? We don’t know, but what we do know is that there has not been a single community meeting called by any Black school board member to get input from the community about this issue that is extremely important to the future of the Black community.

   McFarland told Douzart that he should have come by his office to discuss concerns with him privately and not try to address the board. 

   Is something as serious as the unitary status of the school system something that should be discussed in the back room of the funeral home instead of in a public forum? Was the NAACP publicly dissed because its president didn’t stroke McFarland’s ego by bowing before him in his private office?

   The NAACP wrote a formal letter requesting to be recognized to address the subject at the school board meeting. That letter was ignored. At the meeting, when a school board member opened a discussion about the “unitary status” issue as it relates to the consent decree, it gave any citizen present the right to speak on that subject if they had signed up.

   Several NACCP members signed up to speak, but McFarland refused to hear from them. Why?

   The NAACP wrote a letter asking to speak, but McFarland refused to hear them. Why?

   McFarland often reminds the board that he is President. As president, he has threatened to have citizens who mumble to themselves escorted out of meetings by the police. Threats of removal by police and embarrassment are not what citizens expect from elected officials, especially when a large responsible contingent asked to be heard, following all of the rules.

   “I am the President,” is McFarland’s claim. He relies heavily on Robert’s Rules of Order as his authority. Most president’s in that situation would remind board members that the members of the board have the right to overrule the president on action or ruling he makes. With that in mind every board member that allows McFarland to disrespect members of the public with his childish power plays, should also be held responsible for their inaction.

   If the majority of the board took no action to overrule the president, then it must be concluded that they support his repeated efforts to ridicule members of the public under the guise that “I am the president.”

   Board members are representatives of the wishes of the people of their districts. Since none of them host community meetings to get community input, the very least they can do is to receive input from the public when it tries to peaceably and responsibly come before the board.

   As the year draws to a close, there is another solution to McFarland’s “I am the president” attitude.

   The board can get another president, perhaps one who is willing to show a little respect to a group that is as important to the Black community as the NAACP.