By Burt Mummolo
It’s a routine procedure, school board members electing their own president and vice president for the year. On Monday night, Dr. Jerry Griffin nominated Dr. Jennettie Marshall for president.
“Board member Marshall is the senior board member; she’s been there longer than any of us,” he said.
When the vote came down, Marshall lost. But then it was time to elect a VP.
“I nominate Marshall a second time, thinking, you know, maybe they want her to kind of have a training position, be the vice president for a year and then take over, that’s logical, I could agree with that. So I nominated her for VP, nope,” he said.
Never one to mince words, when we asked Dr. Marshall where she wanted us to meet her for the interview, she said, “Meet me on Greenwood. Meet me where the soil is still crying out with the blood of my ancestors and where we know for a fact in Tulsa our children are struggling and suffering and there’s a lack of diversity and equity,” she said.
“We talk about diversity, we got handouts last night on diversity. Let’s hire more Latino teachers, let’s do this, let’s do that. We think about the lower level, but we never think about it at the leadership level,” said Griffin.
“I feel outraged, I feel anger, but I feel that Tulsa, Tulsa Public Schools is speaking one language but their actions speak another,” said Marshall.
As for whether some of those votes against her might have been cast simply because people don’t like her governing style?
“What is my governing style? Asking questions? Asking for transparency for the people?” asked Marshall.
“Is it racism? I’ll at least call it implicit bias, I will go that far, I won’t say racism. That’s a strong word and I’m sure she feels that way and I’m sure we’re going to hear from the community at the next board meeting,” said Griffin.
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