Two bits | Arkansas Blog

Two bits

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The great Central High cheerleader saga is played out at the LRSD School Board meeting tonight. Channel 4 on Comcast. Check it out at 6:22. It's still underway. (The issue here is that a black student, daughter of a very well-to-do family, has sued over her failure to make the team a year ago and still thinks she's been discriminated against, even though she's now made the squad, on account of having an attention deficit disorder.)

Short form: Tour de force of public support. Black kids, white kids, black parents, white parents gave cogent, persuasive arguments in favor of the people who've run the prize-winning cheerleading program and suggested the problem was the unhappy cheerleader, not the program. If this school board can be turned around in the face of this by one politically potent family with a spoiled child, it is a very sad day for Little Rock.

John Walker, attorney for the family of the aggrieved cheerleader, closed.  In the face of heavy black support of the Central High faculty, he had a tall hill to climb. He argued for some kind of 14th amendment protection for where you practice cheerleading. It was a losing hand. Though maybe not with this school board.

And, the Board recessed in acrimony, as Board member Charles Armstrong ordered someone out of the room for a comment we couldn't hear Not good.

The board has a question to address, and it was expressed by many black people tonight: Can ONE GIRL dictate cheerleading practices for dozens of other people?

Here's how big a loser John Walker has:

He changed the subject. He brought up an important and serious point -- but  a misdirection. Years ago, the LRSD deseg settlment promised college scholarships to students who went to the all-black "incentive" elementary schools. It didn't happen. Who's to blame? Who will pay? That's a very important issue with a high-dollar consequence for a School Board that hasn't always delivered on its promises. And it's an issue for the state of Arkansas, too.

But it has nothing to do with whether former state Sen. Bill Walker's daughter should get preferential treatment on the Central High cheerleading squad.

PS -- There was no Board action on this topic, just a public discussion.

 

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