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Group speaks out in support of Thomas at District 55 meeting

District 55 Superintendent Ameca Thomas

A group of parents and other supporters attending Monday night’s Laurens County School District 55 Board of Trustees meeting addressed the board concerning a recent attempt to oust Ameca Thomas as superintendent.

Some also called for the resignation of Board Chair Cathy Little.

The board met with Thomas in executive session at its previous meeting as reports circulated that board members were set to relieve Thomas of her duties as head of the 5,300-student school district.

Thomas kept her job as a group of vocal supporters waited outside of the closed-door portion of the meeting with Thomas.

Ultimately, Thomas kept her job, but now some parents and community members want answers as to why, some saying the move to replace Thomas, who is African American, is racially motivated.

“Why can’t you go on with the work that each of has been called to do and let the superintendent do the job she was hired to do,” said Elma Morrison, who is president of the Sanders High School Alumni Association. “Why can’t you let go of the hate and discrimination.”

Little was asked directly why the board wanted to remove Thomas, but said board members do not respond to public comments during the meeting.

Morrison said she has been attending District 55 board meetings for 25 years and there has always been a dialogue between board members and the community – until now.

“Why don’t we get answers anymore? Why?,” she asked. “For the last two years there have been all these changes in policies and procedures for the good of the board but not the good of the community.”

People attending the meeting also reportedly circulated a petition calling for Little’s resignation.

Neither Thomas nor Little have offered public comment on the matter of Thomas’s employment with District 55.

“I’m concerned that as a district we’ve become so micro-focused on sidebars that we’ve lost sight of the primary responsibility for all of us – and that’s our children,” said parent and District 55 graduate Kristal Tribble. “We seem to be focusing on everything but what matters. . . . Unless there is a reason (to remove Thomas) and transparency can be brought, it’s creating division. If you have a problem, and it’s a legitimate problem, then present it to this community.”

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