Minden Press-Herald

Oct 01st

Central students choose colors

Kenneth_WallaceResults from a second and final survey conducted at Central Elementary School were released at Monday night's Webster Parish School Board meeting, showing student support for school colors of red, white and blue.

Upset about changing of the school colors at Central Elementary, NAACP President the Rev. Kenneth Wallace accused the board of being "bigoted and prejudiced" at a May meeting.

"Central is my heritage," Wallace said at the meeting eight months ago. "I could only conclude that this (changing of school colors) was another of the long list of injustices that have been perpetrated against Central since its inception."

Central Principal Lisa Toland said the first survey asked parents and Central community members if they approved of the move to uniforms and changing the school colors.

"I was not the one that initiated this survey, I was still at Harper at the time," Toland said at the May board meeting.

Because Toland was not at Central at the time the first survey was conducted, Jill Leppert explained to the board how the survey came about.

"We had parents that said it is time for us to get uniforms and all of our kids love Lakeside," Leppert said. "They wanted to be the same as their brothers and sisters. They actually wanted to be the Braves because Braves grow up to be Warriors and they wanted to be like their brothers and sisters."

Leppert explained at the same May meeting that Marvin Jones was the principal at the time of the survey, which was initiated by the parents.

Toland said despite allegations otherwise, community members had been included in the first survey, where it was found 15 Central alumni were opposed. For that reason, the colors were changed but not the mascot in an effort to reach compromise.

However, Wallace did not see the compromise as Toland did.

"We are bombarded, proliferated with Confederate flags on a daily basis, and people say that's their heritage," Wallace said at the previous meeting. "But yet my heritage don't mean anything. Nobody consulted our community."

District 1 board member Brandon Edens responded to Wallace and said, "They didn't ask all the (Springhill) Lumberjack alumni if they wanted the changes. It's about the kids. It's not about the past.

"We were told it was the principal's decision, the kids voted on it," Edens continued. "It was a done deal and the board accepted it."

After the May meeting, Toland was told to have another survey of students. Those results were given as 449 students in favor of red white and blue, while 96 students wanted burgundy and gold for uniform and school colors.

No discussion was held by the board on the subject at the meeting earlier this week when Toland asked if anything else was needed of her after she produced the surveys.

"It's a done deal," school Superintendent Steve Dozier said after a question was raised if anything more would be done with the survey and color choice.

(Editor's note: Sandra Samuel contributed to this story.)






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