Warren County BOE member discriminates against military

By: Melissa Tune Email
By: Melissa Tune Email

April 23, 2007

WARREN CTY, Ga.---Discriminating against US service members who apply for jobs is illegal, and some would say it's also unethical.

In Warren County, a Board of Education member is using an applicant's military background as a reason to deny employment.

Superintendent Dr. Carole Jean Carey says that she was extremely bothered when the comments were first made, and even more so when a community member came to her office after hearing the comments in the meeting.

Now she says something must be done.

"We do not discriminate against applicants, whether they are military or non-military," said Gwen Tucker, chairman of the Warren County BOE.

"We have a principal who's ex-military, we have several teachers, and I just hate for us to get to be classified in a bad light, with a board member saying a particular group is not fit to serve our schools," Carey said. "I just have a real problem with that."

Tucker and Carey want the message clear: having a military background does not hurt your chances of teaching in Warren County.

But not everyone thinks the way they do.

At a recent board meeting, one member, Clara Roberts, spoke out against a former Navy officer who applied for an advanced math teaching position. According to the meeting transcripts, Roberts described "military people" as not working well "in settings like this with children" and questioned why the applicant, who has a degree in physics, even wanted to come and teach there.

"You simply have to chalk it up to ignorance that anyone would have feelings like that," said BOE vice chairman James Newsome. Newsome, a Vietnam veteran, says the military applicant is without a doubt qualified.

"This applicant was a naval graduate, engineering and physics I believe it was, to serve as commander in the US Navy...I can't think of any reason that anyone could say this person is not qualified," he said. "You are a teacher if you're an officer or if you're in a leadership position. That's what leadership is all about is teaching."

"The rest of the board members and I feel like we have to distance ourselves from her remarks, because they do not reflect the opinions of this board or this community," Supt. Carey said.

To make that crystal clear, the school's attorney drafted a letter to be sent to the Warren County newspaper. Carey says that this type of discrimination will not be tolerated.

"Just to lump them all in one category, not fit for our students...I have a real problem with that," she said.

"There's a reason why the law in Georgia allows five people to be on the Board of Education, because it keeps one person from doing stupid things," Newsome said.

"It really bothers me for people to have those kinds of opinions, but if it's a personal opinion, keep it to yourself," Carey said.

The board voted 4-1 to offer that retired naval officer the teaching position.

As for the comments made, the school's attorney says that the school system could be sued because of the perception that military applicants are discriminated.

Roberts was unavailable for comment.


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  • by Ted Location: Warrenton on Apr 26, 2007 at 05:36 PM
    This feud between board members and the superintendent is ridiculous and takes away from the kids in this school system. What should be the focus is how do we give our kids the best possible education and how do we help them succeed. I plead with Mrs. Tucker to step aside and be the mediater she is suppose to be. As chairman, it is her job to help keep the peace between the board members and the superintendent. It is also her duty to look out for the best interest of the kids. It's time for someone to step up to the plate and say "enough is enough." Our kids are suffering and no one cares. They have lost so many good teachers the past four years and have had to deal with so much change, it is ridiculous. The adults in this community need to come together and make a change. Mrs. Tucker do your job. Mrs. Carey, stay in your place and know your role. We have to agree to disagree and RESPECT one another's opinions and concerns. Stop trying to discredit, ridicule, and make fools out of people. Our kids need you to stop. Our community needs you to stop. I need you to stop. Give our kids a chance for a better education. Stop the bickering.
  • by ELVIS Location: WARRENTON on Apr 25, 2007 at 09:38 PM
    COMMENTS LIKE THESE ARE WHAT KEEPS US DOWN..! SISTER TUCKER PLEASE WAKE UP. . CAN'T YOU SEE WHAT CAREY IS DOING TO YOU. . . THINK. . THINK FOR YOUR SELF.. . ASK YOURSELF WHY? THE CHILDREN NEED TO BE OUR FOCUS. . . YOU DON'T NEED A DEGREE TO SEE WHATS GOING ON. . .USE YOURS! YOUR HEAD THAT IS. . THINK!!!!!
  • by robert Location: warrenton on Apr 25, 2007 at 05:01 PM
    after looking over the comments , i think Zill must be a product of the old school system and must ,and i dont know , but must have been a student of clara roberts.
  • by DOLLAR Location: WARRENTON on Apr 25, 2007 at 04:02 PM
    JAMES NEWSOME,BOB IS RIGHT, CRAWL BACK UNDER THAT ROCK. PLEASE! JUST TO SAY,"I THINK SHE WAS ONE OF THE BEST TEACHERS THAT EVER TAUGHT AT WARREN COUNTY, DO YOU NOT AGREE? THEN TELL ME WHY. ANYWAY, I THINK THE THREE MADE A FOOL OUT OF THEMSELF ON NATIONAL T.V... O YEAH I DONT WANT WAR VETERANS CURSING OR RAISING HELL WITH TEENAGERS, THERE GOES ANOTHER PROBLEM OR PROBLEMS. CAREY, NEWSOME, TUCKER, YALL NEED TO SIT BACK AND LISTEN TO A PROFESSIONAL AT HER WORK, C.B. ROBERTS IS VERY GOOD WITH KIDS AND THE COMMMUNITY. I HATE IT BECAUSE YOU ALL ARE DISCREDITING HER ABOUT A MATTER THAT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THE COMMUNITY. MAYBE IT ISN'T AS IMPORTANT TO THE THREE OF YOU BECAUSE Y'ALL DO NOT HAVE KIDS IN THE SYSTEM NOW. I BELIEVE THIS WHOLE ISSUE WAS TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT AND IS BEING OVEREXAGGERATED AS A WAY TO MAKE C.B. ROBERTS LOOK BAD TO HER COMMUNITY, BUT IT IS NOT GOING TO WORK BECAUSE WE STILL LOVE MRS. C.B. ROBERTS, SO Y'ALL GET BACK TOGETHER AND DEVISE ANOTHER WAY TO DISCREDIT MRS. C.B. THAT ONE DID NOT WORK. MANY THANKS, DOLLAR
  • by michelle Location: warrenton on Apr 24, 2007 at 07:34 PM
    I think people in warren county complain about the wrong thing, they should complain about not having teachers to help seniors pass their graduation test. Every year students are disappointed because they didn't pass, its not the students fault they just have not been prepared for the test why? no teachers or teachers that quit in the middle of the year.
  • by Bob Location: Warrenton on Apr 24, 2007 at 05:14 PM
    This is a shameful attempt to discredit a former educator who is looking out for the best interest of the students in this school system. What is a shame is that James Newsome and other board members have allowed this superientendent to run this school system at will. She is not a professional. She is vindictive and carries personal grudges. Roberts and Carey have bumped heads from the beginning and because of Carey's disrepectful attitude towards the situations, it has gone to this. Warren County needs to send this woman back to Columbia County before she does any more harm to this community. This community is more divided now because of her and she needs to go. As to Newsome, he needs to crawl back under the rock from which he came. He never cared about this school system even when his kids were in school. Voters, let's vote him out next year. We MUST GIVE OUR KIDS BETTER THAN WHAT WE HAVE NOW.
  • by zill Location: warrenton on Apr 24, 2007 at 02:28 PM
    this is for jame newsome i thank you are the worst vice chairman warren county every had the only thing you do is talk about the pass i remember when the new school needed a 5500 dollar well to start concretion and you voted no but did you go to the press with that warren county school will be better off with out you
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