Heated meeting between Aiken NAACP and Aiken County BOE

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The Aiken NAACP met with Aiken County School Board members Tuesday night to ask them why minority candidates were overlooked for three recent assistant superintendent positions.

It was the first time they'd met face to face since the NAACP filed complaints against the board on racial discrimination allegations.

And things got pretty heated.

Retired NAACP South Carolina state president James Gallman called the superintendent, along with the majority of Aiken County School Board members, insensitive to the needs of African Americans.

"Your intentions are the moral equivalent of cutting someone open at the knee and blaming them for being crippled," Gallman said.

It was an echo heard across the standing room only meeting.

There were some tense exchanges, and several security officers were on guard.

"Well skilled and highly trained African American principals have been overlooked this time," Gallman said.

NAACP leaders accused superintendent and board chairman Dr. John Bradley of unfairly hiring three assistant superintendents based on race.

"They want it to appear we are asking for a specific seat for an African American," said David Walker, president of the Aiken branch of the NAACP. "We're asking for an African American to be considered."

When board member Larry Murphy tried to enforce the five minute speaking rule, the crowd got angry.

Chairman Dr. Bradley quickly fired back, saying he welcomes any investigation from the NAACP.

"I'm tired of being criticized for not hiring based on color," he said.

Then he said something that stunned the room.

"I don't think there's a single black administrator on this school district that has the qualifications."

After his comment the room was in an uproar.

"Dr. Bradley proved himself to be the white redneck racist he is," Walker said.

The NAACP gave the board a list of demands.

They're asking for fair recruitment and hiring practices, for the board to change any appointments necessary to make things fair, and for a response by May 24.