Anxious and Bewildered: Timmonsville’s Mayor Says Residents Have Fears About COVID-19 and Fears About the Futures of Their Children
Tuesday, December 8, 2020 4:00 PM
Mayor Darrick Jackson says his citizens are upset and feel like they have been placed in a state of suspension by S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman.
Timmonsville/SC/LDGWIRE/December 8, 2020 The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many of the residents in Timmonsville. Like so many other rural towns in the United States, many of the residents of the town are living in a constant state of anxiety because the virus has become personal for them. Many of the people who live in the town know at least one person who has died after contracting COVID-19.
In the midst of all of the fear and anxiety caused by the pandemic, Darrick Jackson, the mayor of Timmonsville, says that Molly Spearman has left many residents of the town feeling nervous and upset because they have been waiting for months find out whether or not the Superintendent plans to move forward with the closure of Timmonsville’s schools. “I have had a number of discussions with people in my community who have frankly told me they feel abused by Molly Spearman. They don’t believe Ms. Spearman has any consideration for them at all.”, Jackson said.
Ms. Spearman had a virtual meeting with residents of the town on September 30th, where she gave a presentation about the information she was looking at which would help her determine the fate of the schools in Timmonsville. Spearman also spent an ample amount of time fielding questions from citizens who participated on the call, however that was the last communication the citizens of Timmonsville has had from the S.C. Superintendent of Education.
According to the mayor, one of the biggest issues parents have with Spearman is her approach. Spearman met with the kids before sitting down with the parents about her proposal to close the schools in Timmonsville. “I have been asked more times than I care to remember why the superintendent spoke with the children first, without speaking with the parents about this issue. The children are minors, and any assumption that the adults in Timmonsville are the only ones who care about the schools in this town is misguided at best. Further, my citizens are trying to understand when their children were granted the authority to determine anything about their education without parental consent. They can’t even register for school without a parent or a guardian.”, Jackson said.
The mayor states that there is a lot of anger among the parents in Timmonsville, because they feel like Ms. Spearman does not give them credit for knowing what is best for their own children. The mayor said that citizens have told him that Ms. Spearman acts like their children are her property that she believes she can control with full authority. “Our kids have parents and they are not wards of the state, so the general consensus in regard to all of this is, the parents should have been approached first. The people in Timmonsville just feel like Ms. Spearman is out of line, and I even had one parent tell me that Molly Spearman making the assumption that none of the children have any issues with our town’s schools closing, is the equivalent of Kunta Kinte having no issue with his slave master cutting his foot off.”, Jackson said.
Mayor Jackson said that people in his town have expressed to them they feel like Ms. Spearman has backed them into a corner. “My citizens are outraged because they shared with Ms. Spearman that transportation is an issue for many of the parents in Timmonsville. They expressed concerns and fears about whether or not their kids would be able to participate in sports, the arts and other extacurricular activities. They depend on these sorts of activities to help their children earn scholarships.”, Jackson said.
Ms. Spearman was asked during the September 30th meeting about the kind of arrangements she planned to make in regard to transportation for kids participating in afterschool programs. “Ms. Spearman told them that of course there would be arrangements made to get the kids back and forth during school hours, but she would have to see if she could work something out in regard to after school activities. She quickly moved on to another subject with no further discussion about this very important issue. Now here it is December, and our parents are still left in the dark.” Jackson said.
The mayor said that people are very disheartened because participation in things like band, chorus and sports, are the golden tickets that get the kids in Timmonsville to college. “Giving the kids in Timmonsville every opportunity we can give them to go to college is on the minds of everyone here. People are anxious, because they believe that the superintendent is on the verge of stripping those opportunities away from their kids. People around here are bewildered by Ms. Spearmans behavior because, in her bio on the state’s website, one of the two priorities mentioned by her was to ensure a system of instruction that will prepare every graduate for a successful life after high school. Not all of a child’s education takes place in the classroom. Participating in sports, band, the arts and school clubs is a huge part of the education of our youth. It is through programs like these that children build character, develop social skills, learn how to manage their emotions and how to work with others.” Jackson said