Important lesson comes from Thompson issue

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 8, 2000

Anger, frustration and resentment filled the Adams County Board of Supervisors’ meeting room Monday morning. Something had to happen — fortunately reason prevailed.

While supervisors faced public scrutiny over their decision to give away Thompson School to a local Head Start agency, alumni of the former black-only high school filled the room and spilled out every door.

Many in the group felt wronged by the board’s actions — and rightly so.

Email newsletter signup

The issue of Thompson School was revisited Monday more than a week after the supervisors enjoyed the relative quiet that comes from voting on a controversial issue without the public in attendance.

As the debate over the future of the school boiled, both sides dug in their heels. Many of the alumni wanted the school to remain a publicly owned building. The white majority of the county board wanted to give the school — and the liability that comes with it — to AJFC Community Action Agency.

Fortunately, the Rev. Dr. Jerry Young with the General Missionary Baptist State Convention in Jackson spoke up and called for both sides to use restraint. He encouraged the alumni to meet with the supervisors and the AJFC officials to see if a “win-win” solution could be created.

While his action probably single-handedly smoothed over the emotions involved and helped foster a consensus, what’s disappointing is that it took someone from outside our own community to insert reason into the fight.

Why is it that whenever an issue involving black and white members of our community arises, the “R” word leaps to our tongues?

We suppose it comes from the years in which every issue that divided our community was ? in fact&160;? rooted in race.

We’d like to think that’s no longer true. Only time will prove us right or wrong.

Perhaps the most regretful part of the whole incident lies in the fact that it should have never been allowed to happen in the first place.

If the supervisors had simply been up front on the issue in the first place perhaps the issue would not have festered into a problem of name calling and finger pointing.

If hindsight is always 20/20, and only fools repeat history, the biggest lesson we can learn is to communicate with one another before things get this bad again.