Laurels: North Rowan students protest peacefully

Published 12:01 am Thursday, February 17, 2022

Laurel to North Rowan High School students for peacefully protesting inaction by Rowan-Salisbury Schools administrators.

Students walked out of the building and remained near the entrance for about 10 minutes on Friday. Senior Ella Jones told Post reporter Carl Blankenship students are upset the school’s principal stepped down Dec. 31 and hasn’t been replaced yet. Teachers also have left recently and there have been student behavior issues, Jones said.

For its part, RSS and Superintendent Tony Watlington praised students for exercising their First Amendment right. Administrators met with a group of students, too, RSS said. But proof of whether the district listened will come in action taken next.

If they don’t see any progress on naming a principal or other issues, North Rowan High students shouldn’t be shy about returning to administrators with new questions.

Laurel to the Salisbury City Council for moving back to in-person meetings.

All other boards and commissions, whether controlled by the city or not, should follow suit if they haven’t already. Officials can always return to virtual-only meetings if COVID-19 cases spike again, but habits of the previous two years made public meetings more opaque and public participation more difficult.

Consider the Salisbury Planning Board as an example. As reported in Wednesday’s Post, the board will have a second hearing about a Dollar General store that wants to build on Old Mocksville Road because of an error in a Zoom link and that some people didn’t receive notices. Even technologically savvy people can’t access a meeting if they have the wrong link.

With meetings held in Salisbury City Hall, Zoom links aren’t a problem. Just show up at City Hall at the prescribed time. Those concerned about COVID-19 can tune in virtually. The city also can be strict about capacity limits of council chambers and require masks as needed.

For those interested in the Dollar General hearing, the virtual meeting is Tuesday at 4 p.m. Contact the city’s One-Stop Shop, which contains planning, zoning, development and code enforcement, at (704) 638-5208 to get access to the meeting if you haven’t received a notice. People also can visit salisburync.gov/Government/Community-Planning-Services, click on the image for the Planning Board and look for Tuesday’s agenda, which contains information to access the meeting.

City Council members, meanwhile, will meet in-person for the March 1 meeting and begin holding regular meetings in a hybrid format.

Laurel to Livingstone College and its decision to invest in a science-focused future.

The school last week welcomed the public into its F. George Shipman Science Center, which includes state-of-the-art facilities. The $8.9 million facility contains laboratories, research spaces for different disciplines, a planetarium, immersion theater, classrooms and a hydroponic greenhouse. The school also is incentivizing students to major in science, technology, engineering and math by waiving tuition after they become juniors.

Livingstone’s investment will pay dividends by providing a top-quality education for students interested in science disciplines, graduating young adults who are well-prepared to enter the workforce and, hopefully, attracting new students.

Livingstone College President Jimmy Jenkins described the investment perfectly when he said: “The students who will train and conduct research in this facility are being equipped and empowered to command their rightful place in the global society. But not only that, they are being empowered to compete and to contribute in an academic discipline that’s critical for this nation to keep pace globally.”

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