Aiken NAACP protests school board hiring practices

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Aiken NAACP president David Walker has filed formal complaints against the Aiken County School Board with the Federal Office of Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

He's upset that recently three assistant superintendent positions were appointed to white educators.

"Over the years black people have never gotten anything by request. It's always been by demand," Walker says.

Walker says demanding change is the best way to bring more diversity into the school district.

He says superintendent Linda Eldridge and school board chair John Bradley are not hiring enough black administrators, noting the recent appointments of three white educators to assistant superintendent positions.

"It seems in past practices that the 'most qualified people' have always been white," he says.

But the school district disagrees.

School board member Jack Hunter points out superintendent Eldridge does hire black administration--including Frank Roberson and Marion Gary.

"I think diversity is something we should strive for and we do, but I think primarily we have to put the most qualified person, either a black person or a white person," Hunter says.

Walker doesn't like that reason.

"If they don't have people in the system to move up, then they need to start grooming people to move up," he says.

But Walker admits he brought his concerns to the media first: "We have not talked directly to them about this."

He has yet to sit down with Superintendent Eldridge or Chairman Bradley.

Tonight, Walker and others from Aiken's NAACP will make their demands to the school board.

Hunter says he's happy to listen.

"We try hard, and I think by and large we make the right decisions," he says.

David Walker didn't want to go over his demands before tonight's meeting, but did say they would include things like a diversity program.

He also says he hopes this doesn't come to a lawsuit, but hasn't ruled that out.