Manassas Journal Messenger 03-01-01


mediator meet


Louise Cannon



The National Association for Advancement of Colored People now has U.S.

Justice Department mediators looking into its allegations of discrimination

in the Prince William School System.

The Prince William Chapter of the NAACP held a meeting last Friday to

discuss its issues concerning unfair discipline of African American students

and the lack of African American teachers and coaches in the school system.

Vermont McKinney, mid-Atlantic regional director for community relations

for the U.S. Justice Department, attended the meeting and said he is in

“assessment mode” to see if a problem exists within the school


About 50 people attended Friday’s meeting. Several parents of Prince

William students told their stories involving the school system and possible


McKinney said his first step is to closely analyze the complaints. He

will be meeting with Prince William NAACP officials as early as next week

to go over transcribed notes from the meeting.

“As a mediation agency we are going to look carefully at the problems

and contact the schools,” he said. McKinney is also hoping to get more

general information about the schools in Prince William.

Ira Patterson, president of the Prince William County branch of the NAACP,

said the meeting was “just a feeler” to look into specific cases

of possible discrimination.

Patterson said the meeting has sparked an interest in parents all over

the county. “It’s kind of catching on, we’re getting a lot of calls.”

The NAACP is planning another public meeting in April to discuss possible

discrimination in Manassas and Manassas Park schools, Patterson said.

Prince William Superintendent Dr. Edward Kelly said he did not wish to

comment on the allegations or the Justice Department’s involvement.



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