Last night, members of the Drum Majors Alliance lifted their voices at the Forsyth County public school system’s board meeting with a larger collective of concerned community members, organizations, parents, & teachers who are demanding #ActionForAshley Elementary School. The following is the transcript of an official Drum Majors statement delivered to address the issue of air quality, mold, & educational inequity at Ashley. We hope that you will read, share, sign the petition, & be moved to action. Now more than ever, we must confront the severe compassion deficit plaguing Winston-Salem:
“It should stand as a basic principle of any community that all of its children, no matter their address, income, or skin color, should be provided with equitable opportunities for education. This much has been affirmed by the North Carolina Supreme Court in its decision in Leandro v. State (1997), declaring that “all children residing in the state have a fundamental state constitutional right to the ‘opportunity to receive a sound basic education.’” Such “opportunities” to a sound basic education are not limited simply to a standing building and ready teachers, but include among other things access to resources and technology, nutritious meals, and a safe, healthy learning environment.
It is in regards to the provision of a safe and healthy learning environment that we find Forsyth County’s commitment to this fundamental constitutional right to be hollow. The conditions of Ashley Elementary School are appalling, not only in their current state, but in the underly negligence and disregard for communities of color that they make blatantly clear.
The issues of air quality and mold have been repeatedly raised by teachers and administrators with little to no action taken by the school board. We do not believe this to be simply an oversight, but a manifestation of Winston Salem’s living legacy of racial, economic, and educational apartheid. It is unimaginable that these conditions would been allowed to arise and go untreated in any predominately white school in the county. That North Carolina as a whole has failed and continues to fail to provide equitable opportunities for education across race and class lines has been affirmed repeatedly by our state’s courts.
As followers of Jesus, we believe that all people are created in the image of God and endowed with immeasurable worth, dignity, and value. And as such, we affirm in the strongest possible language – alongside of people from various faith traditions & beliefs- that the well-being of every single child should be of the highest priority for a community and that the school board has the utmost responsibility to ensure that every single school in its district is equally well-maintained so that no matter the school a child attends, he or she will truly have an opportunity to receive a “sound basic education.”
We ask the members of the school board to remember your commitments and obligations. We ask that you remember your oath to serve the children of Ashley Elementary School. According to the North Carolina School Board Association, one of the primary duties of a school board is to provide adequate school facilities. Therefore, we demand that you fulfill that obligation and provide an adequate building for Ashley Elementary School. In short, we demand of the School Board of Forsyth County that Ashley Elementary be closed immediately until the issues surrounding air quality and mold be fully and totally addressed.
This is not a matter of charity but of justice, and we, as people of faith, stand for justice. Micah 6:8 states, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Our school board has neglected the cry of those in our city who do not have economic or political power. But we stand with the students, parents, & teachers of Ashley. We affirm and magnify their voice. We affirm their equality under the law, the fullness of their humanity, and their dignity and beauty as bearers of the image of God.”
-The Drum Majors Alliance
#ActionForAshley #NotAnotherBrick #NotAnotherBond