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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Out of School Board Handbook Defeat Rises a Community Effort

One of the characteristics of a superb military is that it learns the most from its defeats.  It does not sulk and cry and complain.  The U.S. Army is especially good at capturing "lessons learned" from its operations, particularly operations that do not go very well.  Social movements, too, can develop its own "lessons learned" from defeats in battling a government entity.

Yes, the Escambia County School Board voted 5-0 to keep language in the Students Rights and Responsibilites Handbook that mandates that any possession of a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia will result in expulsion from school.  Here is the June 15, 2015, video of Ms. Keyontay Humphries, American Civil Liberties Union's, presentation to the School Board Work Shop on June 15, 2015 (see Public Forum section) requesting that the School Board make three significant changes to its policies.

What came out of this defeat was a recognition that the community needed to become more involved in the bureaucratic process of drafting the rules for the handbook at a much earlier stage of the drafting process and remain engaged.

To that end, a number of individuals and groups have decided to do some out-of-the-box thinking on how to proceed with a Community Summit first proposed by Mr. Ellison Bennett on June 15, 2015, at the School Board workshop.

Rather than coming out of the School Board handbook defeat with their heads hanging down, they felt energized and galvanized into rethinking their strategy, tactics, organization, networks, and operational campaigns.

Leading off with Ms. Humphries who did all the heavy intellectual thinking on the necessary revisions to the handbook is the gallery of community activists (in alphabetical order) who made presentations to the School Board on June 16, 2015:

Ms. Keyontay HUMPHRIES, Escambia Youth Justice Coalition

Mr. Ellison BENNETT, National Movement for Civil and Human Rights

Mr. John JERRALDS, Movement for Change

Rev. Dr. Julie KAIN, Unitarian Universalist Church of Pensacola

Rev. Hugh KING, New Jerusalem Tabernacle of God

Ms. Cindy MARTIN, Montclair Neighborhood Activist and Headz Up Beauty Salon

Mr. Jerry MCINTOSH, Movement for Change

Ms. Trina RAMOS, Escambia Youth Justice Coalition

Dr. Eurydice STANLEY, NAACP member (identification purposes only)

Rev. Lee E. MIDDLETON, Jr. and Mrs. Lucille MIDDLETON, Alpha & Omega Missionary Baptist Church

Speakers and Supporters in the Audience

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