Aiken NAACP leaders take concerns step further

By: Jonathan Martin
By: Jonathan Martin

Wednesday, May 9, the Aiken NAACP met with Aiken County school board members. They say minority candidates are being overlooked for administrator positions.

The attorney for the Aiken school board says every appointment was fair and legal.

Attorney Bill Burkhalter says he doesn't like the way state NAACP president James Galman behaved at Tuesday night's BOE meeting.

"He knows better than what he said. I'm very disappointed in him to get into a personal attack and try to use personalities to see his personal agenda," Burkhalter said.

Galman and supporters packed the meeting to confront the board about the recent appointment of three white administrators.

And the response from board chairman John Bradley sparked an uproar.

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

"Dr. Bradley proved to be the white redneck racist that he is," said David Walker, president of the Aiken branch of the NAACP.

Dr. Bradley declined an interview with us, but the board's attorney says he was misunderstood.

"What happened was, he was trying to make a statement, and he got cut off and slammed in the middle of his statement, he never got to finish," Burkhalter said.

He says Bradley was trying to say no black or white administrators had qualifications unique to those appointed.

The basic qualifications include three separate certificates. Burkhalter admits some minority educators were qualified, but says he trusts the superintendent was fair in who she recommended, pointing to her previous approval of two black administrators.

"Dr. Eldridge has been ten years and she has a very established history of making appointments of minority candidates to high level positions," Burkhalter said.

Linda Eldridge did not return our calls.

We did learn through the board's attorney that these administrator positions were not advertised.

The attorney says a clause in the superintendent's contract allows her to make a recommendation without going through any type of search process, but again, he says it was all done fairly.

The Aiken NAACP say their national office is now involved.


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