He urged the audience to look at the good things the school system is achieving, including a 12.2 percent increase in the number of black students graduating from high school, the International Baccalaureate program and much more.
“I am not a racist,” Cason said. “And I am not a person that does not put children first.”
Cason said that what has hurt him the most were the students at the high school who he had considered as students he was on “gentlemanly terms” who turned their backs on him last week when he was at the school.
The comment got applause from the audience.
“I regret that more than anything else,” he said.
Rose then got back up to the podium to respond. Response after a comment is not usual BOE protocol, but Rose was allowed.
He first said that he did not call Cason a racist.
Rose then asked out of all the school districts Cason contacted, how many, if any, had a black superintendent.
Cason said Thomasville City had a black superintendent.
Rose then asked if Cason had consulted with any of the black board members before making the decision not to air the speech.
Annie Fisher, District 1, shook her head no.
Warren Lee, District 3, said that when the decision was made and with the information he was given by Cason at the time he agreed with it.
Lee said he took into consideration the fact that several of the schools in the system are considered failing schools and the need to get them back on track.
Rose said there was nothing that could be said to justify this action.
Cason said he would apologize to any of those in the audience who had their feelings hurt over the matter.
Rose said he guessed that Cason just didn’t get that every black child in the school district needed to hear the speech.