Photo by Dianna Wray Protest signs outside the meeting
Kevin Simms, organizer of the event and director of the group argued that the HISD system is corrupt and that Grier is the man responsible for that corruption.
"I want to send this man to jail," Simms said."Someday you'll be judged on Judgment Day, but right now you'll be judged by the American Coalition."
The meeting was billed as - and was focused on - alleged corruption in HISD, but this being election season that also meant there were also candidates for election on stage, along with former-HISD school board trustee Carol Mims Galloway, who had a list of things to address about Grier and HISD.
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Galloway said that she came up in the days before desegregation, she still remembers how it felt to be a grown woman and a mother and to be told to sit at the back of the bus. "Coming up in that era, we can always spot a person who does not give a fat rat about us," she said, telling the audience that she believes the HISD establishment is not concerned about the urban students she used to represent.
Galloway seemed to have a lot to say once she got hold of the microphone - she spoke for about an hour, criticizing Grier's leadership, the loss of African American teachers in HISD, the Apollo 20 program, which Galloway said is proving to be a failure. She said the setup of the program showed that Grier doesn't understand the cultures of the students in urban districts. Galloway also accused Grier of being unwilling to take responsibility for his failures. "There's one thing about Terry Grier - it's never his fault," she said.
Eventually Simms opened the floor up for questions, and the people asking the questions brought up allegations that HISD has not been fair in awarding bond construction contracts, and that school district officials are intent on closing Yates High School and other urban schools. They brought up the rumors that HISD workers tossed out North Forest ISD trophies after the two school districts merged this summer and the talk about how North Forest principals were not hired at HISD after the districts consolidated.
HISD spokesman Jason Spencer said there is no intention to close Yates High School, that the construction contracts were awarded to a number of minorities, though possibly not the ones preferred by the group sponsoring the meeting. He said he's never heard of North Forest trophies getting tossed and that no promises were made to any North Forest employees about employment after the merger. About the criticism of Grier, Spencer said, "Well, I like him."