West Bolivar Strife Continues With Student Protest

ROSEDALE, MS (Ben Caxton) — The Bolivar Commercial reports that students at West Bolivar High School staged a sit-in in the school auditorium this week. The paper reports that the students are upset over a variety of issues they believe have been “swept under the rug” for years. Several students voiced concerned about class schedules, claiming their schedules have been changed multiple times. Newly hired Superintendent Dr. Beverly Culley told the Commercial that she was aware of their concerns about schedules and that the school has brought in counselors to sort out the issues. Other students complained that they were upset at the way they were spoken to during a senior class meeting held Wednesday morning by Culley and Principal Kenyarartic Brown at which they claim senior privileges were taken away from them. West Bolivar has had four different people filling the role of Superintendent since abruptly firing the former superintendent, James Johnson-Waldington without public comment after he suggested shuttering the current high school building.

 

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1 Comment on "West Bolivar Strife Continues With Student Protest"

  1. I want to thank Mr. Ben Caxton for publishing the plight of the kids at West Bolivar High School in seeking a quality high school learning experience at their school. I applaud the youth for having the courage to stand up for what so many adults have turned their heads to. Their quest for better educational opportunities in their Mississippi Delta high school is notable.

    The problem that our kids are facing in Rosedale is much deeper than the multiple schedule changes, unqualified staff, and incompetent administrators mentioned in the article, however. The Mississippi legislative consolidation is the root cause of their plight! The sad commentary is that no one cares about the harm Senate Bill 2760 has caused to Delta kids. Then, when you add to that a School Board who lacks the competence or the will to do the right thing for all kids, the situation is compounded.

    Before the ones who want to silence my voice attempt to discredit me by defining my motives, let me get that out on the table myself. I lost my job in the WBSD due to the legislative administrative consolidation brought about through SB 2760. Those at the central office level were required to re-apply for their jobs in the consolidated school district. I applied for several jobs in the consolidated district, including the top job of superintendent. I was not hired even though my passion for education, competence, and proven record of success would question that decision. I was hurt by the rejection at first, but I now know that God’s plan for me was greater than mine. I did not apply for the job during this last superintendent’s search, and I have no regrets about that decision. As I said, God had better for me. Nonetheless, I am still concerned about the children in the West Bolivar Consolidated School District. As a passionate educator, I want the best for all kids, and want them to be adequately prepared for colleges, careers, and life.

    All kids deserve quality and equity in public education, and West Bolivar High School kids have been on the short end of that stick for years. The consolidated school board has never operated as such. Everyone wants their own, and it appears that a pact has been formed to ensure that happens for two of the three communities at the detriment of the West Bolivar School District community. The ills that are continuing to plague this district have been shared in writing, through phone calls, and through demands to the powers that be – Gray Tollison, Abe Hudson, Willie Simmons, Dr. Carey Wright, the State Board of Education, and the West Bolivar School District School Board. No one has responded affirmatively or actionably. Thus, one would conclude that they just don’t care about these Delta kids! No one with heart should have allowed this debacle to go on for the past 3 years without acting.

    It is my hope that more attention is brought to the blight of these kids. They deserve immediate action and none has been forthcoming to date. Not even answers. For the past year, these kids have had to eat meals which are transported to the school daily because they lack a real cafeteria. It was burned down more than a year ago and has yet to be restored. These kids – high school kids – have no gym. It too was burned down by a tragic fire more than a year ago. These kids have lacked highly qualified teachers for several years, and no teacher in their right mind will come to the district amidst the chaos. These kids lack educational materials, up-to-date books, working technology, and competent, capable leaders who can position them for success. And most disheartening to me, however, is that these kids lack parents and community constituents who are willing or able to tackle the bureaucracy to make things better. There is too much silence relative to our kids’ education.

    Since this situation has gone on for years, all these kids know is failure! They know what they have been given for years is not right. Nonetheless, they have gone compliantly alone hoping for better someday. This is what led to the protest – that someday is getting farther from their reach. This should not be the case anywhere in America, and particularly in Mississippi where the State Superintendent of Education earns more than any State Superintendent in the ENTIRE COUNTRY. We claim quite often that education is the “KEY” to a brighter future and that education provides access to the American dream. West Bolivar High School students deserve to have that key that accesses this so-called dream too!

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