F.A.C.T.S. speaks out after SACS board asked for more time to consider partnership to address racism concerns

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 5:52 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) -There’s been another delay in Southwest Allen County Schools’ (SACS) plan to address racism concerns.

In February, district leaders promised to implement a program after a racist image of a Homestead student in blackface spread on social media.

RELATED: SACS announces “path forward” following Blackface controversy, SACS board wants more time to consider partnership to address racism concerns

During SACS’ school board meeting on Tuesday, the board asked for more time to think about a potential partnership with an advocacy group.

“I think the parents and community have a right to be a little frustrated,” SACS superintendent Park Ginder said. “The clock is running. I can appreciate their frustrations and I think there will be a number of administrators and teachers who feel the same.”

As the frustration continues to build at SACS, parents are losing their patience and hope for the district.

“This feels more so of a game that our children are mandated to play which is unacceptable,” parent and F.A.C.T.S. Chair Ashley Washington said. “So yes, the initial reaction was frustration and disappointment.”

On February 9, protests broke out at Homestead High School after a photo of a white student in blackface went viral on social media.

On February 19, the school announced plans to move forward to work with outside groups including diversity coach Dr. Will Moreland.

Then on March 24, plans to work with Dr. Moreland were scrapped and the board brought forward the idea of working with the group “Rise to Win”.

However, on June 6, plans to work with that group were put on hold.

“For them to just continue to save face, postpone, save face, postpone,” parent and F.A.C.T.S. Chair April Gregg said. “We’ve seen no action and at this point, it seems like they don’t care.”

April Gregg and Ashley Washington are SACS parents and members of Freedom Against Cultural Transgressions in schools, otherwise known as F.A.C.T.S.

The group was formed after the photo went viral as a way to spread positive unity among all parents and students in an attempt to change the culture they see at SACS.

This is what the group had to say after Tuesday’s meeting.

Now after waiting four months, they’re upset.

“Every time you get to this point, it hurts and it is a slap because it’s a physical touch in the manner of impact,” Washington said.

“At this point, I am not hopeful because they have shown us otherwise,” Gregg said. “They really need to get it together.”

During Tuesday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Park Ginder understood parents’ frustration and had this to say.

“I don’t think this discussion tonight kills our direction, but I do want them to know that the educators, the teachers, the administrators, and our district want to see that we move forward,” Ginder said.

Members of F.A.C.T.S. tell 21Alive that the Ginder did reach out to the group Wednesday to continue the discussion.