NAACP wants in­quiry into ex-Bu­ford of­fi­cial

Group calls for re­view of ex-su­per­in­ten­dent’s dis­ci­plinary ac­tions.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - FRONT PAGE - By Ar­linda Smith Broady abroady@ajc.com

Former school su­per­in­ten­dent Geye Hamby re­signed amid al­le­ga­tions he used racial slurs; in­terim su­per­in­ten­dent named.

As Bu­ford res­i­dents re­cover from the shock of long­time school su­per­in­ten­dent Geye Hamby re­sign­ing amid al­le­ga­tions he re­peat­edly used racial slurs when re­fer­ring to blacks, the Gwin­nett County NAACP has vowed not to let the mat­ter die.

In a state­ment re­leased the same day Bu­ford City Schools in­formed par­ents that former as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent Joy Davis was named in­terim su­per­in­ten­dent, the NAACP called for an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Hamby’s dis­ci­pline prac­tices.

“The cit­i­zens of the city of Bu­ford, Gwin­nett County and na­tion­ally have been shocked with Hamby’s ap­par­ent ha­tred of black peo­ple,” it said in a writ­ten state­ment re­leased Thurs­day.

It called for a re­view of Hamby’s dis­ci­plinary ac­tions against em­ploy­ees and stu­dents, and of poli­cies the school dis­trict en­acted dur­ing his ten­ure.

Au­dio record­ings of the racist re­marks by some­one said to be Hamby are ev­i­dence in a race-dis­crim­i­na­tion law­suit filed by former para­pro­fes­sional Mary In­gram and were made pub­lic last week.

School board mem­bers said Mon­day that they hadn’t known about the record­ings un­til a week ear­lier. When asked why it took so long to act and why Hamby was al­lowed to re­sign in­stead of be­ing fired, board chair­man Phillip Beard said they had to fol­low le­gal pro­ce­dures.

“Mr. Hamby’s com­ments demon­strate racial ha­tred and big­otry, and the Bu­ford City School Sys­tem will be held ac­count­able if other vic­tims step for­ward with sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences as Ms. In­gram,” said Gwin­nett County NAACP Pres­i­dent Penny Poole.

Nei­ther Bu­ford City Schools ad­min­is­tra­tors nor school board mem­bers could not be reached Thurs­day for com­ment. But the ap­point­ment of Davis pleased some Bu­ford par­ents.

“I have known Joy Davis for a long time, and she is one of the nicest peo­ple. I have ever met and will serve as a great in­terim su­per­in­ten­dent for the time be­ing,” said par­ent Pa­trick Gantt.

Jen­nifer Martinez has lived in Bu­ford for the past 12 years. With three chil­dren in the school sys­tem, she’s tak­ing a wait-and-see ap­proach.

“She was Hamby’s right hand,” she said. “I think they ap­pointed her be­cause she knows how Hamby han­dled things. Mr. Beard said it, his thoughts are that Bu­ford lost a strong leader, still trusted him un­til his res­ig­na­tion. So this makes me think that they trust Davis ’cause she will keep do­ing things Hamby’s way by the BOE (Board of Ed­u­ca­tion) com­mand.”

Davis’ per­son­nel file, ob­tained by the AJC through an open records re­quest, in­cludes glow­ing praise by Hamby. “You con­tinue to make a tremen­dous dif­fer­ence in the BCSS. You are to be com­mended on your many con­tri­bu­tions to the school dis­trict. Your abil­ity to “han­dle things” is im­pres­sive and ap­pre­ci­ated,” Hamby wrote “... Thank you for friend­ship, loy­alty, and work ethic. You re­main very spe­cial to me!!!”

In the let­ter an­nounc­ing Davis’ ap­point­ment, the board listed its col­lec­tive email ad­dress (bu­ford­boe@ bu­ford­c­i­tyschools.org), but not in­di­vid­ual email ad­dresses or phone num­bers for board mem­bers.

“We have al­ready be­gun to make a con­certed ef­fort to cre­ate a plan to im­prove re­la­tion­ships be­tween and among the many cul­tural groups rep­re­sented within our schools,” the let­ter read. “Par­ent and com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pa­tion in our schools will con­tinue to be in­te­gral as our com­mu­nity moves for­ward in pro­vid­ing the best ed­u­ca­tion and en­vi­ron­ment for our stu­dents.”

But sev­eral par­ents sent a let­ter seek­ing to ce­ment that prom­ise. It sug­gested seek­ing su­per­in­ten­dent can­di­dates from “be­yond the lo­cal com­mu­nity or even the state” and hav­ing “a group of di­verse par­ents from each school to sit down with the fi­nal three can­di­dates.”

CUR­TIS COMP­TON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

A crowd at­tends the Bu­ford Board of Ed­u­ca­tion meet­ing Mon­day af­ter Geye Hamby re­signed amid al­le­ga­tions he used racial slurs.

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