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Charlottesville School Board Bans Confederate Imagery, Examines Inequalities

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

The Charlottesville City School Board is continuing to look at how to move forward following a recent scathing ProPublica article that examined inequities in the school system.

On Thursday, November 1, the school board addressed a number of issues ranging from banning Confederate imagery from its dress code to concerns about the opportunity gap in the school system.

"As we all know, by the time the story this story hits ProPublica or the New York Times, the damage to our children has already been done,” Diane McNeal of Charlottesville’s NAACP said.

The school board is continuing to address concerns about the opportunity gap following that article that showed that this school division has one of the largest opportunity gaps in the country.

"We want to increase the diversity of our teaching pool, we want to reduce that opportunity gap that we have talked about so much, but it won't be done overnight," Juandiego Wade, the school board chair, said.

The school division held a community gathering on October 23 to bring up concerns regarding the article, but some say more still needs to be done.

"While the African-American community in Charlottesville and Albemarle County at large may no longer be separate, we are most definitely not equal,” McNeal said.

School board members say they want people in the community to feel like they are being heard.

"Make sure that our students understand that when they bring about change, when they bring suggestions, that we as adults do the best that we can do to make those changes,” Leah Puryear, who’s on the school board, said.

One of those changes is a resolution that was passed by the board on Thursday night that bans Confederate imagery from the division’s dress code.

"We are grateful that you are embracing this resolution and banning hate imagery and specifically the Confederate flag in your schools,” Mary McIntyre, an Albemarle County teacher, said. “The resolution is strongly worded and it is powerful."

Board members say they want to see the school division address issues raised by the community, but the changes could take some time.

"I would rather see us make incremental growth than to make these great strides, and then next week we're back on the ground,” Puryear said.

The school board plans on holding another work session to continue its discussion on addressing the opportunity gap in Charlottesville schools.

The division will hold a community forum at Charlottesville High School on November 27.