Buford school board meeting may be chance for community clarity Monday

Amid allegations that the Buford City Schools superintendent used racial epithets to refer to black temp construction workers while engaged in conversation with the chairman of the board of education, the school district has said little to the public.

Officials might not have a choice during the regular monthly meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday.

In light of a lawsuit that brought forth the accusations against Superintendent Geye Hamby, administrators and board members said they couldn’t discuss pending litigation. However, Hamby was placed on administrative leave that went into effect the day The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published news of the lawsuit. Buford City Schools issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon announced the administrative action.

Hamby then resigned Friday, but didn’t admit or deny that it was his voice in the audio recording. That same day an attorney for Mary Ingram, the employee who filed the discrimination suit alleged that Phillip Beard, school board president, was the other voice on the recording.

Attempts by the AJC and other news outlets to reach Beard were unsuccessful. He hasn’t returned messages left at the school district offices or at his home phone number. The school district doesn’t have phone numbers or email addresses listed for any board members.

Although the meeting is scheduled for Monday, there was no posted agenda on the school district website on Sunday afternoon. Neither were there minutes or any other official school board documents anywhere on the site.

An online petition calling for Hamby to be fired was started last week. As of Sunday night there were 860 signatures out of a goal of 1,000.

Several signers expressed an interest in attending the board meeting but there has been no organized effort to show up en masse.

Gwinnett NAACP President Penny Poole said earlier that it’s time for Buford to engage all residents in ways to make the city and the school district more inclusive.

“There needs to be more citizen involvement on the municipal level as well as the county level,” she said. “When you look at the make up, it’s obvious that the good old boy network is still intact.”