Gwinnett School Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks is well respected by his peers but a recent comment he made has some parents, teachers, and the NAACP up in arms:
The comments in question occurred last week during a presentation about the disproportionate discipline of minority students in Gwinnett.
An administrator said the issue is a problem for school districts nationwide except in Idaho, according to a study. Wilbanks then asked the administrator, James Taylor, executive director of the department of academic support: “Do they have any blacks in Idaho? They don’t have many.”
Parents circulating the comments on the Internet are expressing their disappointment in Wilbanks and school board members who ignored the controversial comments.
“I sent it to about 60 parents, and they were offended,” said educator Monise Seward of Snellville, who is developing a charter school in Gwinnett.”I’m surprised that he still has job…. It’s unacceptable.”
Should he be fired? I don’t think so. It seems to me the ‘perpetually offended’ have found a new reason to be upset.
The always offended Vincent Fort has weighed in:
State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), who chaired a 1997 legislative study committee on school discipline, said he is concerned about Wilbanks’ comments and the discipline numbers in Gwinnett. Fort said he is not looking for leniency for black students, just fairness.
“The issue for me isn’t whether or not the students should be disciplined,” he said. “What I’m looking for is equity and fairness in meting out discipline.”