Group Pushing City School System In Atmore Claims Civil Rights, Public Records Law Violations

December 31, 2019

The group pushing for the formation of a city school system in Atmore is claiming civil rights and public records law violations by the Escambia County (AL) Board of Education.

Atmore Citizens for Change (ACC) has spearheaded the drive to split Atmore’s schools away from the Escambia County (AL) Board of Education as they push for an end to a racial divide and failing schools.

Atmore Citizens for Change President Loumeek White said Monday that the group has submitted a formal complaint to the Alabama Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights “on behalf of their children, the students who attend public schools in the City of Atmore, Alabama regarding violations of their civil rights and their education in the Escambia County Public School District”.

The group is also requesting that the Alabama Department of Education “force” the Escambia County Board of Education to release “all public documents that were requested” under the Alabama Open Records Act in March 2019 after the Atmore City Council voted in favor of a feasibility student into the city school system.

In an email to State Superintendent Eric Mackey, White said that the Escambia County superintendent and “most” board members “have refused to meet with the public”, and allows only Brewton and Flomaton students access to the Escambia County Career Technical Center, a notion county officials have denied.

“Students in Atmore have been denied access to educational programs and newly built facilities,” White said.

In his email to the state, White claimed Escambia County Superintendent John Knott “has continuously tried to stop parents and stakeholders from having a voice about the detriment of the city’s school system and the lack of student achievement. In February 2019, it was reported that Knott held secret meetings with two Atmore city council members and Atmore’s mayor. The four made a deal not to vote on the city school formation.”

“We are requesting that the State of Alabama, Department of Education and the Federal Department of Justice conduct an investigation on the Escambia County Public School System, its Board, and its current central office administrative staff,” White said.

He also said the ACC will file action in circuit court to seek the public records requested if they are not otherwise received in 10 days.

In an email provided by ACC, State Superintendent Mackey told White  “it would inappropriate for me to respond to that matter” in reference to a civil rights complaint. Mackey said he will invite Knott and other parties to follow up with him “at their convenience to work any differences necessary to acquire andy publicly available information”.

During a March 2019 meeting with the Atmore City Council, White said many of the “smart kids” no longer attend school in Atmore. Instead, they travel to Northview High School in Escambia County, FL, to Escambia Academy, or schools in Flomaton (also part of the Escambia, AL, system), he said, adding it has created an obvious racial divide.

“The white kids are going to Flomaton and Northview,” he told the Atmore council and a crowd of about 75 that attended the March meeting. “You’ve got to see the separation.” According to the Alabama Department of Education at that time, 322 of the 368 students at Escambia County High School in Atmore are black or African American.

The council voted unanimously in March to begin the process to find a consultant to study the feasibility of operating a city system, with a particular look at if it would be affordable. That study has not been completed.

Pictured above and inset: Atmore Citizens for Change President Loumeek White (left) and Atmore Mayor Jim Staff discuss a city school system during an Atmore City Council meeting in March 2019. Pictured bottom: City officials, council members and audience members held hands and prayed after the March meeting. photos, click to enlarge.


21 Responses to “Group Pushing City School System In Atmore Claims Civil Rights, Public Records Law Violations”

  1. Paula on January 2nd, 2020 12:44 pm

    First of all, atmore needs to do something about the old atmore middle School and the old account Moore school, we need to keep our kids in a school zone design for their age and plus a school for special needs children.. 3rd thru 5th grade needs to be separated from older kids, as far as teacher well how we raised our children is what makes them as adults in life.. our teachers can’t control kids with bad behavior or teen getting pregnant and gun violence when parents are not doing their job and make sure the kids get a education and have good manners, enough sleep and safe environment at home.. just think of what we need to do as a parent or guardian..

  2. Judy on January 2nd, 2020 9:43 am

    I keep seeing the term “educated professionals”, but education of the teachers does not seem to be the problem. Intelligence and professionalism do NOT go hand in hand. How do the teachers speak? Do they use correct English and insist on the same for the students? Do the instructors display the finer points of “intelligence”, such as correct speech, civility, good manners and politeness? These “minor” points go a long way in making students want better, and make them want to do better!

  3. Not A Idot on January 2nd, 2020 6:19 am

    Why not look at the other schools in Alabama that are 90% black an see what they do to pass. Sometimes its best not to try an invent a new wheel . Just look around and do what is working for others. This year their are 76 schools in 27 school districts in Alabama that are failing all majority black. Inside those failing schools are 38,420 students 92% are black. Only 461 white students attend failing schools in Alabama. Have any schools in Alabama fixed their schools ? yes . without adding white kids .yes It seems having white teachers and white administration makes all the difference in the world. Figure that one out.

  4. teacher on January 1st, 2020 2:24 pm

    As a teacher in Escambia County, I can promise you that teachers are teaching and doing their best to educate the students. However, if education and respect for teachers is not taught at home, it won’t be a priority for the students. That’s why students are leaving Atmore and going to different schools. It has nothing to do with racism but the culture that is set in the school. The culture for learning is set at a higher bar at surrounding schools because that is expected at home by the parents. Going from a county school system to a city school is not going to change the outcome until the expectations and culture change at home. Ask Mr. White why is own children don’t attend Atmore schools. It would be interesting to hear his answer.

  5. SMH on January 1st, 2020 2:21 pm

    Northendbratt – I’m a very educated professional so I will keep my comments as such. Are you suggesting that we teachers in Atmore are not well-educated? I guarantee you I am far more educated than you will ever be, as are the teachers in Atmore. Enough said!!!

  6. Booth kines on January 1st, 2020 1:34 pm

    The solution to the problem is to tie parents entitlements to student achievement. If the student does poorly cut a percentage of the parents free money. The schools PTA meetings would be standing room only.

  7. Northendbratt on January 1st, 2020 11:22 am

    I could take a sentence from each one of these comments and that would be the whole problem with what is wrong with Atmore schools.I think it boils down to no one cares about the children who are left to attend these schools after the kids who have parents,grandparents or guardians who can afford to haul them to Flomaton,Huxford,Perdido,and across state lines into Fl.PCI has the rescoures to have their own busesFl schools. are they paying tax in Escambia county Fl? No!!! I agree with OMG,I think that may be the bottom line.Any school that has well educated teachers does better, no matter what city or state it’s in.

  8. I’m just saying... on January 1st, 2020 10:31 am

    Something is always going on in Atmore- someone got shot or something to do with drugs. Majority of the articles I’ve seen lately have been teenagers. My kids go to their district school (not Atmore) but I wouldn’t let my kids go to Atmore county schools either. I would move before I let that happen. I’m sure there are good kids and teachers who try their best but Atmore is the new Pritchard lately.

  9. CK on January 1st, 2020 8:27 am

    @ concerned parent of a future Florida student

    I’m sure the Florida schools get funding based on the number of students attending, so that’s probably why they turn a blind eye.

  10. Aintitfunnny on December 31st, 2019 3:23 pm

    The person leading this campaigns children attend flomaton, he is running unopposed in the District School Board political race and his wife is a vice principal at an atmore school………. hmmmmmmm go figure.

  11. Wayne on December 31st, 2019 3:02 pm

    I am sorry but Atmore Citizens for Change are the racial divide
    I might add the failing schools are the accepted standard of the Alabama Education Association aka Lee Langdon spearheads the ignorance of running a education system and promotes his self and the education and equality are left behind
    Its not race…it pure self absorbed self importance from up top trickling down
    Been that way for years..
    ACC…try going through the proper channels and drag some politicians who are paid by the Alabama education system through the mud
    Right now…you are creating a racial divide by promoting ignorance on how to handle this.
    You are catering to the fat cats up top and they sit back and laugh at you
    Watch how it pans out by creating that divide
    You have a lot to learn..and you will guys.

  12. SMH on December 31st, 2019 1:33 pm

    This goes back to 15+ years ago when students were permitted to go out of district and out of state to school. If people were made to go in their zoned district, I believe schools would be performing at a higher level.

    In addition, the apathy and many of the problems in our local schools began at home! Parents have to be held accountable for their children at some point and stop trying to assume schools are responsible for raising children!! It is a partnership between the school, home, and the student.

  13. concerned parent of a future Florida student on December 31st, 2019 1:04 pm

    Sorry to know that Atmore public schools are in the state that they are in, but what should be a concern for Escambia County FL parents is the fact that Northview and all the other north end Florida schools allow these kids from Atmore to come across the county line to attend school in Florida, Parents, these children are taking away from our children. Not only are they receiving an education at the Escambia County Florida taxpayer’s expense, but they also get the scholarships and other awards that our Florida children would receive at the end of graduation. These Alabama parents do not pay taxes in Florida, and contrary to what you may believe, Escambia Co Florida and Escambia Co Alabama isn’t connected in any way, so basically their children are getting a free education at our expense. This definitely is not fair to our Florida children and something needs to be done about it. I am hoping that next year things will change since we will have an appointed Superintendent that hopefully is not from this area,
    and therefore is not a part of that (you scratch my back and I will scratch yours gang).

  14. Home on December 31st, 2019 12:52 pm

    You can’t fix this problem by breaking away from the County School Board. The kids act like they do because of how they are raised. Parents need to be more involved in their child’s life and know what’s going on in the child’s life and give them discipline when it is needed, And praise them when it is needed also.

  15. Mikebee on December 31st, 2019 12:36 pm

    I’m all for the city school system in Atmore and with the right staff I think it can really work. John Knott doesn’t care about the Atmore school system at all. Case in point the current middle school headed by Debra Bolden needed parts for the flag pole so that the school could fly the “American Flag” and John Knott refused to purchase those parts for the flag pole because it’s an “Atmore School”. Debra Bolden has systematically found a way to rid the middle school of many of the African American teachers despite having a majority African American student population. I could go on and on about the racism, wickedness and evil that it is projected toward the students and the schools in Atmore. The most effective way to destroy a system is to establish your own. Many of you people are on the outside looking in and have no clue about the inner workings of the schools in Atmore. Everything starts at the top and trickles down. Escambia county is plagued with racism but many of you cannot get past your own racism and biases to see the big picture. John Knott and his central office could care less about the schools in Atmore, therefore he needs to stop fighting and release them to establish their own system.

  16. SMH on December 31st, 2019 11:51 am

    To OMG – I know I speak for many when I say how dare you comment on the quality of teachers at the schools in Atmore. We work to provide the best education possible for the students who walk through our doors. Seems to me you wouldn’t know quality teachers if they slapped you in the face. Standardized tests scores have NOTHING to do with student achievement. Student achievement encompasses the whole student and we have great students with huge potential that go on to do great things but you don’t hear about all of that. You are only drawn to the negative and want to point fingers. So, from the prospective of a teacher, keep your “quality teachers” comments to yourself. Take the blinders off and look at the whole picture. (And by the way, in today’s society, unfortunately all schools are dangerous.)
    Education in this country is broken – especially for poor, small city, and rural communities. It is the nature of the beast. I don’t know how to fix it and apparently government officials don’t either. So instead of ranting and pointing fingers and filing lawsuits, channel the efforts into doing something about it.

  17. KD on December 31st, 2019 11:25 am

    I’m 28, I went to northview instead of going to atmore public school, and as far as I’m concerned that was the best thing my momma could have done for me. Atmore schools are basically just a training camp for the prison system, I know that sounds kinda harsh but that’s the reality, constant fights, gangs, and drug deals are unfortunately common-place in this “house of education”. These officials who want change seem to turn a blind eye to the root of the problem here….. a lack of punishment and absolutely no attempt to maintain order and control of the students. All I’m saying is there is a reason all the “smart white kids” as they say, are going to different school districts….. wake up people!!!

  18. BigBlock345 on December 31st, 2019 8:20 am

    So, according to Loumeek White, “All the smart kids are white. We need to force the white kids to go to Escambia County High School to get the school’s grades up.” Because black kids can’t get good grades? Sounds like Loumeek White is the racist one. Civil rights violations? Looks like Atmore Citizens For Change wants to violate peoples civil rights by forcing them to go where they don’t want to. I say “clean your own mess up and people wouldn’t have to leave the filth.”

  19. JustSaying on December 31st, 2019 7:24 am

    After reading “OMG” statement, I’m sure there are a lot of reasons for the changes. Been a long time since been involved, so my opinion really is based on a general idea.Living in a world where we can all get along, which just doesn’t happen anymore!

  20. JustSaying on December 31st, 2019 7:13 am

    Many years ago, everyone went to school in their district and that was that. No traveling to a school of choice. Then you had diversity for the most part. Then the schools and teachers could follow suit. If someone tries to give a new address, have someone hired specifically to check those, they either have to live at that location or go by the rules! After all, what is this telling our kids, it’s okay to lie to get what you want?? Again, just saying!

  21. Omg on December 31st, 2019 5:06 am

    It has nothing to do with race and more for education and safety. I send my kids out of Atmore because the schools are dangerous. They learn nothing but fear and bullying. The educational system in Atmore is a joke. Better quality teachers, curriculum and atmosphere in Flomaton and Northview because they dont tolerate heathenism and bad behavior.

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