Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Whalum Calls for Immediate Memphis Schools Shutdown

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Saying he represents more people than voted for Mayor Willie Herenton, Memphis school board member Kenneth Whalum Jr. called for all schools to be immediately closed in the wake of a shooting at Mitchell High School on Monday.

"Memphis City Schools needs to be shut down," he said at a press conference at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church where he is pastor.

Questioned by reporters, he said, "I mean every school, shut down."

Whalum, an at-large board member, said metal detectors should immediately be put in use at "every school, every day."

He took only about five minutes or less of questions, and reporters were unable to get details of his sweeping statements.

"I don’t care where they go, I just don't want them in school getting shot to death," he said when asked if children were not safer at school than anywhere else.

Whalum was not joined by any other board members. On Tuesday, board member Tomeka Hart held a press conference about school violence and was joined by some of her colleagues. Whalum said "my heart sank when I saw a smiling Tomeka Hart" saying that despite its problems the city schools are reasonably safe for their more than 100,000 customers.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Willie Herenton is scheduled to hold a press conference at City Hall on school violence. This story will be updated.

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