A Virtual Town Hall Meeting was held on Zoom and Facebook Live Tuesday, allowing Cobb County residents to voice their concerns or questions regarding the school system.
The meeting was hosted by Cobb County Board member Dr. Jaha Howard, and Howard answered questions from viewers through the chats on the two platforms. Howard reiterated that the town hall was a listening session saying, “Sometimes we can get into the habit of talking more than we’re listening and I want to make sure that we’re listening more than we’re talking.”
Some of the main questions dealt with the issue of Critical Race Theory in Cobb County schools. With one viewer asking Howard if kids are really safe in a district that promotes white supremacy?
In response Howard mentioned that he thinks that students are safe but to speak up if there are concerns.
“What I would say is, if you are at a school and you are noticing some of those things, communicate it. I know it is easier said than done but please communicate it.”
Howard also answered questions regarding educators, with one viewer asking how educators should speak up against racism in schools, as well as people in leadership positions misusing their power?
“I don’t think it’s my place to give advice for our team members. I will say that you do have some advocates that will continue to push for more transparency when it comes to information, but also just anonymity when it comes to sharing hard truths.”
Howard went on to address how telling the truth should be the main focus, instead of protecting reputations.
When asked about what concerns he is most geared towards addressing at the moment, Howard said, “We have stated goals in the district and again, the Board is not the operations arm of the school system.”
“The Superintendent and his executive cabinet, everybody under that umbrella, which is pretty much the entire school system, the entire school district is under that operations umbrella. So again yes, there are a lot of things that come up in Board Meetings, but at the end of the day its about kids learning and kids being safe.”
Howard briefly addressed the Board’s violation of the Sunshine Law, labeling it as “technical issues.”
Other topics that were broached were topics on neurodiversity and improving air filtration systems in schools to combat COVID-19.
While the Town Hall was originally supposed to go on longer, it was cut short because Howard had an “important pediatric dental meeting” to attend.