Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County NAACP Speaks Out and Calls for Action on Education

This post was contributed by my sister President Valoria Armstrong; President of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Branch NAACP

Press Release - January 23, 2008 -

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is committed to ensuring teacher quality within our school systems. The recent racial and insulting incidents within the Hamilton County School System have raised questions to the quality of teachers that interact with our children on a daily basis.

All students, regardless of their race or ethnic background, should be able to study and learn in an environment that is free of racial or sexual attack as well as intimidation. The recent incident involving former Hixson High School teacher, Bill Eller, highlights major concerns in regard to the quality of teachers within the Hamilton County School System.

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County NAACP calls for an immediate investigation into Principal Eddie Gravitt and his lack of accountability in addressing the past concerns and complaints toward Mr. Eller from students and parents. The NAACP further calls for disciplinary actions, if necessary, according to Hamilton County School Board Policies due to Principal Gravitt's failure in not properly addressing issues of this magnitude.

The Hamilton County School System has not made diversity training a priority. Due to the failure to appropriately educate and foster awareness with all school officials, our children are not being taught in an environment conducive of acceptance, proper socialization skills, or in which inappropriate behavior is addressed accordingly.

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County NAACP is calling for all Hamilton County School officials to complete diversity and sensitivity training prior to interacting with students. Training of this nature will increase awareness of differences and create an environment where teachers and administration understands the needs of their students.

The Chattanooga-Hamilton CountyNAACP is calling for a zero tolerance policy towards school officials that exhibit or participate in racially charged or intimidating behavior or speech on the school campus and school sponsored events.

Please contact, Mrs. Valoria Armstrong, President at (423) 432-9776 or email with any questions and/or concerns.


I spoke with President Armstrong this afternoon about this issue and she explained to me that there had been more than 20 complaints made by parents concerning cruel, racially, and or sexually changed comments and unprofessional behavior from former Coach Bill Eller at Hixson High School. And while these complaints continued to come in over a 2 year period, no significant disciplinary action was ever taken by the School Principal. And now, though Mr. Eller has finally been transferred and his coaching duties have been removed, it has come to light that Principal Gravitt had not even maintained records of the complaints he'd received.

We applaud your efforts Sister President. The Wichita Branch is proud to stand with you, and we wish all the best and continued success to you and the Chattanooga-Hamiton County Branch...

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