NAACP asks for changes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 6, 2008

WINTON – The Hertford County chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) wants to see some changes in the Hertford County School system.

Carl White, Hertford’s NAACP President, came before the school board during their monthly meeting on July 28 to share some of his concerns.

First, White addressed the issue of Teen Court, asking that it be reinstated in Hertford County Schools.

“We’ve been checking into it and it appears good for the kids… we should be looking for a further avenue to help kids with disciplinary issues.

That’s why we (the NAACP) are asking that this be reinstated,” White stated.

Teen Court was once used in Hertford and Bertie County Schools as a method of disciplinary action when students committed an offense while on school property.

Since the program was done away with a few years back, that task has fallen to the shoulders of law enforcement officers and the court system.

Back in May, District Court Judge W. Rob Lewis also made clear his opinions on Teen Court when he subpoenaed the entire Bertie County school board and several administrators, including the superintendent, to come to his courtroom and listen to his opinion on the matter.

Lewis then told the gathered group that he wanted Teen Court to be reinstated in order to relieve the burden on the court system and keep harmful and unnecessary charges off of student’s criminal records.

At the July 28 Hertford County School Board meeting, White referenced the May incident.

“After reading (about that) in the paper, we researched it and decided Teen Court is necessary to help the kids,” he noted.

White later added, “I would like to request a meeting with the school board in the near future to talk about the disciplinary issue.”

The second matter White brought before the board was the lack of handicap accessibility on school grounds.

“We need handicap access in restrooms for people with disabilities, especially in the sporting area.

Currently there aren’t any and it makes it very difficult for these people to come to games and other events,” he stated.

Board member J. Wendell Hall asked for clarification, “Am I hearing correctly that your main concern is facilities around the athletic fields?”

White responded, “Yes, but (handicap accessibility) in the whole system is basically needed.”

Board member John Horton thanked White for sharing his concerns.

“Thank you and we will consider your input,” he stated.

Horton later added, “To any who may be wondering, this does not mean we’re not addressing the issues presented; it’s just our policy not to discuss any public comments on the night they are given.

We will definitely be looking into the matter.”