Sparks fly at Sumter BOE meeting

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 11, 2004

Members of the Sumter County Board of Education were acting like the children they are sworn to serve Tuesday night when what should have been a simple meeting nearly turned into a brawl.

After swearing in new board member Sharon Thompson, the board heard from retired teacher Mary Johnson who spoke of problems with the current board members.

Johnson mentioned an incident in March 2003 at Livingston High when a 17-year-old student was stabbed to death in the school cafeteria.

Johnson claims that many parents in the community believe the board’s response to the event was insufficient even though new security measures have been implemented since the incident.

The board also remains without a new president, as members could not agree on nominations.

After two nominations ended in a deadlock the crowd got rowdy and the board members started arguing. When things would not quiet down, Board Vice President Bertha Rodgers called for a recess.

Upon her return from a 15-minute break, Rodgers decided that since it was already 8 p.m. she would adjourn the meeting.