Human Rights Forum

Hundreds of parents, educators, and community members gathered at the Elevated Baptist Church for a "Getting To Know Your School System" town forum.

The purpose of the forum was to discuss allegations of discrimination within the Simpson County School District.

The former principal of Franklin-Simpson High, Kenneth Jackson, says he was treated with nothing but respect during his time at the school, but he resigned because he felt some employees were dealt an unfair hand.

Dr. Jackson says: "It's not about black and white because I saw white as well as blacks treated in a way that I thought the district could have did a better job."

Dr. Jackson says: "I can no longer work here and I turned in my resignation because of the injustice that I see dealt to Mr. Winston."

Lonnie Winston was a special education teacher at Franklin-Simpson Middle.

Jackson says Winston was told he would have to reapply for his own job despite a good evaluation from the year before. Jackson says Winston reapplied, but his job was given to someone else.

Dr. Jackson says: "That is the straw that actually broke the camel's back with me as an employee here."

Jim Flynn, the superintendent of Simpson County Schools attended the forum to hear the concerns of Dr. Jackson and the public.

Flynn says: "My goal was to come here and listen and hear those concerns and hopefully inspire the community to come together to find solutions to those issues that need to be addressed."

One of the main issues brought to the surface was how the school district could recruit and maintain good minority educators.

Flynn says: "I heard that loud and clear and it's something that I'm in agreement with and I want to work with the community and with our school system to try to do that and do it well and bring good minority candidates into our school system."

Superintendent Flynn says the forum was a way for the community to discuss the issues that it felt impeded the students ability to learn.

Flynn says: "Ultimately that's what we're about our students and their success and we need to pull together for their benefit."

Dr. Jackson says he hopes the forum gives the residents of Simpson County a voice. He says: "I think the message was loud and clear and, like I said earlier, I think it's time now for this community to stop hearing the sermon and start seeing the sermon."

The Kentucky Commission of Human Rights, Civil Rights Activist Louis Coleman, and the Franklin-Simpson Human Rights Commission were all on hand for last night's forum.

Superintendent Flynn took notes of the concerns and possible solutions that were addressed at the meeting. He says he'll discuss them all with the Board of Education and wants to have a similar forum in the future to discuss possible solutions.

For more information about the Kentucky Commission of Human Rights you can log onto http://www.kchr.ky.gov/


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