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NAACP addresses controversy

POSTED: May 15, 2017 1:00 p.m.

Members of the NAACP attended the Liberty County Board of Education meeting Tuesday.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Liberty Branch President Graylan Quarterman said he was representing the NAACP noting the organization is charged to recommend corrective measures on issues that impact the educational system, community and students.

Quarterman read a letter that detailed the results of an NAACP’s investigation regarding the LCSS and AdvancED.

AdvancED is the district’s accreditation organization.

Quarterman referred to a letter AdvancED sent to the LCSS dated July 19, 2016, that detailed complaints received alleging that a board member has interfered in the day-to-day operations of the system and has communicated in an unprofessional manner to both the superintendent, Dr. Valya Lee and other board members.

Quarterman named Marcus Scott IV as the plausible culprit. LCSS Board Chairwoman Lily Baker quickly interjected asking Quarterman to not use names. Scott also interjected, saying he was not named in the letter.

"AdvancED indicated that a board member and they use the term he," Quarterman said.

Quarterman continued to read his letter saying the NAACP, "believe this has created the basis of much news as of late and, ultimately, the so-called agreement on the non-renewal or buy out of the superintendent’s contract."

Quarterman praised Lee’s work and noted that AdvancED also recognized the, "superb performance," of the superintendent.

"It is to our disappointment a deal was negotiated with Dr. Valya Lee to end her contract absent the solicitation of the inclusion of input from the community to which you serve," Quarterman said.

Quarterman asked the BoE to police themselves and focus on students. He also requested the BoE reinstate Lee or release her with the agreed pay along with, "dignity, respect and a letter of apology."

Scott addressed the issue Wednesday during his Facebook Live broadcast of the Education Hotline. Scott said when he first heard that the NAACP was getting involved he thought they would focus on the students and education.

Scott said he met with Quarterman about a week before the NAACP held a community meeting May 7.

He said what materialized over the next few days showed what he already suspected, specifically he said Quarterman has a hidden motive.

"He acts like he wants to do something...like what is best for the school...all he wanted to talk about was the superintendent…like he is in love with this lady," Scott said during his broadcast.

Scott said Quarterman had a stake in keeping Lee employed.

"He got buddy-buddy with the superintendent and she promised him something to do with his engineering company," he said. "So when she left, his hopes of making whatever money with the school board left. And I think he got a little disgruntled about that."

Scott said Quarterman’s speech to the BoE was full of inaccuracies.

He called Quarterman a, "hater," adding he has no respect for Quarterman and his "cronies."

"That is just far from the truth," Quarterman said in response to Scott’s allegations. "It appears, and I’ve heard, that Mr. Scott made allegations about everybody who has addressed the issues that AdvancED mentioned in their report. I have not sided with Dr. Lee. I have not sided with Mr. Scott or anybody else on the board. I have just clearly addressed the allegations that is in the AdvancED report.

Quarterman said the NAACP requested documents through the Freedom of Information Act. He said the evidence pointed to Scott being the board member creating problems for the BoE.

Quarterman noted it was confirmed in a response letter from Lee to AdvancED, and a reference to the word, "he," in the AdvancED report dated March 2016 during the system’s re-accreditation process. He added he also has an email between Scott and Dr. Annette Bohling, the CEO of AdvancED, that addresses Scott communicating with AdvancED without going through the school system channels, namely the superintendent.

"I do have a love for Dr. Lee," Quarterman said "I have a love for Marcus Scott as well. I am required to love both of them because of my Biblical beliefs…but I don’t have to love the action that is going on in our school system. It’s just wrong. The community has been quiet about it and it’s time for someone to speak up and take action about it. I would ask Mr. Scott to utilize his position on the board to benefit our students and not to benefit his fan club on Facebook."

Quarterman said he is upset about the handling of Lee’s termination of contract.

"I asked the board…if Dr. Lee has done nothing wrong then why is she leaving?" he said. "No one has identified that she has done anything wrong. I think she’s done a fantastic job for the Liberty County School System. I make no bones about that. AdvancED has also said she has done a fantastic job. They call her a catalyst of a superintendent. Six board members have agreed that she has done a fantastic job, according to the evaluation report that was received through the freedom of information act, Mr. Scott is the only one that thinks she has not done a good job. So he may want to examine his personal dislike for individuals versus the work that the individual does."

However, during his show, Scott said all need to be reminded that, "There was seven people who voted her out."

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