Educators and community members voice concerns at Bladen County Schools Board meeting

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The Bladen County School Board met Monday night and a handful of people had a lot to say during the public comment period.

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) – The Bladen County School Board met Monday night and a handful of people had a lot to say during the public comment period.

Two educators from East Bladen High School spoke out, saying the district desperately needs more resources.

Counselors Donnel Goins and Liz Ruffin-Cox of East Bladen High School say the number of children falling behind in their grades was concerning before the pandemic – and now it’s devastating. Ruffin-Cox says that less than 10% of students who come to high school master math and between 20 and 30% master reading.

The two say they have been coming to council meetings for three years to ask for more resources and smaller class sizes so students can get the attention they desperately need.

“You can’t do much to advocate, but at some point we all have to come together and say our children are hurting. We are preparing these young people for the world and they are not ready,” Ruffin-Cox said.

“We feel complicit in a crime deep down. These kids…basically…we’re graduate students who can’t read in 2022,” Goins said.

Ruffin-Cox says their repeated pleas for help seem to be falling on deaf ears.

Also during public comments, several people asked about the board’s decision last month not to renew Dr. Antonia Beatty’s contract as deputy superintendent of human resources. The day after the council’s decision, Beatty committed suicide.

“You may not have pulled the trigger, but you put the bullet in the gun,” Dr. Beatty’s father, Henry Beatty, told the board during a public comment.

After three decades with the district and what his parents called a perfect work record and a need to always do what was best for the children of Bladen County, they seek answers on why the board took the decision not to renew his contract. Plus, they’re eager to know if Dr. Beatty was tipped off or if she was caught off guard by their decision.

“I can accept an answer if a man comes and talks to me face to face and tells me why, I’m willing to accept it. But if you can’t give me an honest answer, I have a problem with that,” he said. said Henry Beatty.

Council chairman Vinston Rozier says people will get the answers they are looking for, but the council is unable to share them at this time.

The board also tabled a discussion about implementing a see-through bag-only policy for the upcoming school year. If approved, Superintendent Dr. Jason Atkinsons says the district will be able to purchase new backpacks for every student in the school system.

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