District 5 school board candidates tackle discipline, diversity

Dist. 5 School board candidates (l-r) Christiane Buggs (Source: Twitter), Miranda Christy (Source: Twitter), Dr. Corey Gathings (Source: Facebook), and  Erica Lanier  (Source: mnps.org).

Dist. 5 School board candidates (l-r) Christiane Buggs (Source: Twitter), Miranda Christy (Source: Twitter), Dr. Corey Gathings (Source: Facebook), and Erica Lanier (Source: mnps.org).

Nashville Organized for Action and Hope hosted a public forum Tuesday night, giving residents and parents in District 5 a chance to gauge the candidates and see how they plan to tackle the issues facing their children.

District 5 school board member Elissa Kim has decided not to return to the school board, allowing four school board candidates to pursue the seat. Christiane Buggs, Miranda Christy, Corey Gathings and Erica Lanier addressed the crowded basement at the First Baptist Church in South Inglewood to discuss a variety of issues, primarily regarding disciplinary action for students and providing more community-based resources for students.

“Suspensions are fueling a vicious cycle in our community,” Christy said. “If you suspend them, you more than double their chances of dropping out. If they drop out, that student’s chances of going to prison are very likely. We have to make a meaningful change in the diversity of our teaching staff, to confront the issues our students face.” Gathings agreed with Christy and said that by hiring relatable teachers it will not only make students more likely to have buy-in during class time but also will change the culture of disruptive classrooms.

“We need to recruit more minority teachers to support the African-American males in our schools,” Gathings said. “Studies have shown that if students can relate to their teachers, disciplinary issues will go down. We need teachers who understand the social and emotional needs of our students.”

For many of the District 5 residents in attendance, that was the most important issue to discuss.

The next NOAH forum will be with the school board candidates from District 7 on Thursday at the Kairos Community AME Church at 413 Veritas St.