Yesterday’s marathon and raucous Wake County School Board meeting climaxed with a decisive vote to end the use of socio-economic status in assigning students to schools. Board Chair, Ron Margiotta joined with the four new members of the board, John Tedesco, Debra Goldman, Deborah Prickett and Chris Malone to form the majority. The board members deserve our thanks for their courage and perseverance under trying circumstances.
News accounts reported on three arrests at yesterday’s meeting. They include Dante Strobino, 28 of Raleigh. Duncan Edward Hardee 21, of Asheville and Rakhee Shirish Vasthali of Fayetteville. If the ages and residences of the three raise a few questions in your mind, you’re not alone.
In 2009, our friend Joey Stansbury wrote about Strobino and his work with the leftist group FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together) in a Wake Community blog post. Strobino previously worked with “UE”. UE is shorthand for United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. UE is not affiliated with the AFL-CIO, but very open about its democractic structure and progressive politics. Strobino’s history along with Hardee’s and Vasthali’s residences sure cast doubt on those who think Tuesday’s protest were spontaneous and home-grown.
In another incident, Raleigh Police confirmed yesterday John Tedesco’s car was vandalized by an Enloe High School Student who climbed on his car to place fliers urging Tedesco to reconsider his vote on the diversity policy. The student may face vandalism charges.
Finally, for all the talk and perceived passion about diversity it was hard not to notice the considerable lack of diversity in the room. Yes, there was a smattering of African American speakers and young people – nearly all of which were white. However, the silence from the larger minority community – both students and parents — is a message that shouldn’t be lost.