Shirley Johnson is tired of seeing the bad times.
“It’s time,” Johnson said.
As a member of the Barbour Schools Board of Education, Johnson was referring to the school system consistently having to fight, particularly from some within the system that she feels is only hurting the greater cause.
Retired after a 36-year career at Mead, Johnson devotes her time now as a board member with Barbour County Schools.
“It’s time to take the knee off our necks,” Johnson said. “The school board has been mistreated. We hired a superintendent (Dr. Mathew Alexander Jr.) and he is doing a great job. We were broke when he first got here.
“These are poor black children we’re talking about and what they’re going through every week. It’s time for us to come together for them. Now is the time. They’ve been treated unfairly. We’re supposed to be together, work together. The kids ask why they are treated so badly. They hear the bad talk about our schools all of the time. No man or woman should go through what we are over there. Politics shouldn’t run our school.”
Johnson said the events following the police killing of George Floyd brought her to say it was time to also take the knee off Barbour County Schools.
“The first thing is if you’re going to be part of something then let’s work together,” Johnson said. “It’s time. What we’re going through with the children in Barbour County is not right.”
Johnson’s father, the late Elijah Franklin, helped integrate the schools in Barbour County.
“If you don’t want to be a part of something, leave it alone,” she said. “We’re not getting support from our elected officials. The children are being hurt by others. It’s time to take the knee off our school house.
“It’s time we all do our part. We are tired. Daddy always told me whatever you do give it your best and don’t ever sell yourself short because of the dollar. The children in our county school system are not treated fairly. They don’t need to be on the back page. They need to be in color. We need to make Barbour County greater. We all need to be treated equally. We were broke when he first got here. We were broke when he first got here.”