‘Our children are at risk,’ said Allentown School Board vice president in protest

Their message was clear. They are not going to let go of their problems.

“We’re not going to walk away,” said Lisa Conover, vice president of the Allentown School Board. “Our children are in danger.”

Conover was one of about 10 people who gathered in downtown Allentown on Saturday to seek answers about former Allentown School District Superintendent John Stanford’s sudden departure.

School district parents, NAACP leaders, and community activists support Stanford, who is black, while also expressing concern about why he left.

Those who spoke out at Saturday’s protests again pointed out what they saw as a troubling lack of transparency.

“The lack of transparency is key,” said NAACP Bethlehem president Esther Lee, surrounded by protesters holding signs.

On October 20, the Allentown School Board voted 6 to 3. to approve the Separation Release Agreement with Stamford, Hired on a 5-year contract in September 2021 and joined the company in November of the same year.

Stanford University and the school board declined to comment on the reasons for his resignation, other than to sign a joint statement stating that the separation was mutual and amicable and would not involve dishonesty or wrongdoing. School district officials are prohibited from making statements about their tenure at Stanford University that “contradict or contradict” that statement, the agreement says.

He has been the district’s fifth full-time superintendent since 2010.

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On October 25, community activists and NAACP leaders held their first protest outside the Lehigh County Courthouse on Fifth Avenue and Hamilton Street. At that event, Lee, the first black person elected to the Bethlehem District School Board in 1971, said the circumstances behind Stanford’s resignation had made her “uneasy,” citing discrimination in her school district. condemned.

Lee said Saturday she stands by those claims.

“Leadership doesn’t care about brown and black kids,” Lee said.

On October 27, the board unanimously confirmed Connecticut educator and school executive Carol D. Burks as Interim Superintendent. Burks is a 27-year teaching veteran, most recently serving as Area Superintendent and Chief School Officer at the Booker T. Washington Academy in New Haven and Hamden, Connecticut. She has served as a teacher, principal, state and district leader. Burks is black.

Officials at the Allentown School Board have not disclosed whether Burks is running to fill the role of Superintendent on a permanent basis.

In addition to demanding transparency, participants called for a forensic audit of the school district’s finances for the past 30 years.

“I believe it connects all the dots,” said Barbara Redmond, NAACP’s female secretary, or WIN ‘Our children are at risk,’ said Allentown School Board vice president in protest

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