Chambers County teachers react to desegregation case

Published: Aug. 24, 2023 at 10:52 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Some education leaders in East Alabama are making changes to their desegregation order that’s been around more than 50 years, and some faculty and staff in Chambers County came together to protest on Aug. 23 for some answers about the progress.

“We’re tired. We’re fed up. We’re done talking, and we’re going to be at the board meeting every month until we get justice,” said a teacher at Valley High School, Tytianna Smith.

Smith previously worked at LaFayette High School.

In June 2023, the U.S. District Court confirmed that LaFayette High School will remain open while building a new merging high school to integrate its students after more than fifty years.

Smith said she has several concerns with how that process is moving, and she also said that Chambers County Superintendent Casey Chambley is spreading misinformation about the desegregation case.

“He told us that our students, Lafayette students, who would travel to Valley were going to have to ride the bus to a hub, and then get off on the hub, take a break, and then then get back on the bus and ride to Valley,” Smith said. “He told us the merger was definite before the court case happened. Before the court case, he said we were temporarily consolidating with valley, and This was in December. He was like that was definite.”

In 2023, the court considered the Chambers County Board of Education’s motion to approve the site for a new consolidated high school, to build the new high school and authorization to consolidate the high school students temporarily.

Smith said it comes down to equity and equality.

“We’re also talking about resources. We need those grants, not just for the kids of Lafayette, but for the kids of all of Chambers County. We need those grants. Our city, we need the JP Paul building. We want that building. It is ours. We need that building for rec centers, you know, for after school programs,” she said. “So aside from him leaving office, we want equitable resources, we want to be able partner with the board of education so that we can get grants, and we want the JP Paul building so that our city can have a rec center,” she said.

Superintendent Chambley did respond with a statement.