by Darwin Campbell, African American News&Issues
Fort Worth- Promoting unity as their strength, freedom fighters, community leaders and citizens in Fort Worth are tired of their education leaders bullying minority communities and are set to stand up for the rights of the people.
They plan to start flexing their muscles in a Fort Worth Independent School District Community Town Hall meeting at True Vine Baptist Church.
“We believe the ousting or forced resignation/retirement of Mr. Walter Dansby is the one most egregious displays of institutional racism, unfairness, harassment, discrimination, human and civil rights violations that we have seen in today’s time,” said Rev. Jack Crane. “Mr. Dansby’s impeccable character, integrity, excellent qualifications and performance over 40 years of service to the FWISD system, made him uniquely qualified to lead FWISD as our superintendent.”
The move of these community groups has been launched as an all out campaign to recall and remove the entire board because it fails to represent the people and hear the community’s voice.
“It also further proves that those sophisticated maneuvers, now updated schemes of racism and discrimination of the past; continue to exist today, as a means to deliberately interfere with, deny and circumvent, fair and equal access to education, information, resources and opportunities for black, brown, poor and disadvantage students,” said Lee Saldivar, who is Hispanic. “Thereby, (it) continues to preserve, enhance and perpetuate the system of white supremacy, subtly promote the ‘myth’ of white superiority and black/brown inferiority; and upholds ‘institutional racism’ and systematic discriminations of the past and present day.”
The purpose of community town hall meeting is to educate the public and provide an opportunity for the people to engage in dialogue, discuss an action plan and pending litigation underway, in order to address the gross inequalities, injustices and corruption that continues to plague the FWISD School Board and its members.
Much of the frustration with district officials stems from the school board putting pressure on former Superintendent Walter Dansby to leave.
Dansby, who is African-American and homegrown is popular in the community for his years of dedication to the Fort Worth Independent School District as a teacher, coach, principal, administrator and superintendent resigned amidst the board pressure and his contract settled.
Dansby grew up in Stop Six and graduated from Dunbar High School.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and his master’s at Tarleton State University. He has worked in the district for 38 years, and was named interim superintendent after Melody Johnson resigned.
Dansby joined the school district as a teacher and coach at Rosemont Middle School in 1974. He served as a coach at various schools including Paschal, where he later became an assistant principal. He was principal at O.D. Wyatt High School until he was promoted to an area dean of instruction and continued to rise through administration ranks overseeing various areas including instruction, athletics, student affairs and maintenance.
He received a huge outpouring of support, confidence from the community for his years of service, impeccable integrity and qualifications as an administrator.
“We have learned that certain members of the FWISD Board allegedly targeted, conspired, schemed and orchestrated a campaign to berate and discredit Mr. Dansby, by blaming him for the low test scores and poor performance of some schools, which they well knew existed prior to his tenure as superintendent,” said Activist Bryan Muhammad. “It is evident that Mr. Dansby’s abrupt resignation/retirement and/or forced ousting were primarily due to the enormous pressure exerted on him by certain board members. Therefore, we contend that Mr. Dansby was publicly berated and forced out because he had the audacity to say ‘no’ to the ‘good-ole boys/business as usual’ politics of the past and was in danger of disrupting and exposing a long standing systematic improprieties, cronyism, malfeasance and corruption within the FWISD System.”
Citizens are upset over the fact that the school board pulled somewhat of a “hostile” takeover of the district by pressuring the superintendent to leave before he could execute his plans for the district.
That negative pressure caused Dansby to leave the post – an action made so officials could settle with Dansby and move on without him and without consenting to parents or leaders in the district.
According to Activist Luther Perry, never in recent history of FWISD has a superintendent been given less than 3 to 5 years to implement their action plan. Dansby was only allowed 2 years to implement his action plan.
“His is untimely evaluation must be scrutinized and investigated,” he said. “It also begs the question as to why the Board was adamant in ousting Mr. Dansby and not those directly responsible for selecting and administering these culturally-biases academic models and flawed testing/measurement standards, which have existed for many years?”
Muhammad said the petitions of removal of board members is available for any registered voter to sign, as well as a host of other actions-steps and plans for the community to support.
According to community leaders, the statements and fight are on behalf of many concerned citizens of goodwill, students, parents,churches/mosques, business, civic, grassroots, taxpayers and the majority-minority: Black and Brown and Tan Communities.
“It is vitally important that we address these issues now and make these necessary changes needed to improve and protect the quality of education for our children and community,” he said. “We must stand and unite in order that we may ensure that our children have at the very least have a fair opportunity of a education, in order that may become productive citizens.”