CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - About 30 local ministers met with Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox Wednesday to discuss how black students are getting treated in schools. The ministers are concerned about the disparity of the suspension rate between black and white students and bothered minority schools have less resources, more inexperienced teachers and lower test scores than other schools.
"It's really disheartening. We send our kids to school to learn first of all," Temple Church International Bishop Kevin Long said.
The ministers met for more than an hour behind closed doors at Little A.M.E. Zion Church in uptown Charlotte with Wilcox. The ministers say the meeting was a step in the right direction.
"Hopefully this will push Mr. Wilcox and others in CMS to not only focus on graduation but matriculation preparing them for the next level," Long said.
The preachers want to know how CMS can use their resources and facilities to house after school programs and tutoring services for students in need. They say CMS can't do this assignment alone, that's why they want to do their part.
"It's not enough to point fingers at them. We have to also accept the blame 'cause we have been complicit as well by not being vigilant enough," Little Rock AME Zion Church Pastor Dwayne Anthony Walker said.
At the meeting the superintendent passed out the district's recent equity report. It shows race and a student's socioeconomic status determines a student's success.
"I am so glad that he's facing the truth about CMS. I think a promise was made to this community that if we went with neighborhood schools that we would do an equity program...As soon as we went with neighborhood schools the resources were pulled," Faith Memorial Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Dennis Williams said.
Ministers say enough is enough. They want CMS to do its part to turn things around for students and they vow they will do their part.
Faith leaders say they will take this information to their congregations so they can work with CMS to improve academics and discipline for students.
"We're in it for the long haul and it took many years for us to get in this situation- we know it's going to take some years to get out of it, but we are here to make a difference," Williams said.
The ministers say the superintendent has agreed to meet with them regularly.