By Terrica Hendrix
BLEVINS – A few days after a picture of a school board member in “blackface” holding a sign that read “Blak [sic] Lives Matters” circulated around Blevins, the board member apologized at the end of a school board meeting held Monday night.
The picture of Blevins School Board member Ted Bonner wearing blackface while dressed in overalls and carrying the misspelled makeshift sign was sent to several parents of Blevins students a few days ago.
Bonner admitted at the board meeting Monday night that he was the person in picture.
Two minutes before the regular school board meeting adjourned, Justice West, Blevins board president, addressed the audience.
“…There’s no ramifications, there’s no jurisdiction for the board to do anything to another elected official. The only way anything happens to an elected official is if the electorate decides to do something about it the next time they’re at the polls. That’s all I have to say about that. There’s no opinion going to be made; there’s no statement to be made because it’s not a board issue.”
“I’ll go ahead and speak. I know there are people here because of me,” Bonner immediately told the audience.
“I’ll say I’m sorry. I went to a Halloween party as many people have done. I dressed as a black man. I’m sorry if I offended people. I did not do it intentionally. Only reason I’m here is for the kids. Whoever wrote I’m here not for the kids is bad wrong. I mean, the people that know me see what I’ve done at this school and for the community for kids; only reason I would ever even think of being on the board. I do apologize if I’ve offended anybody,” he said.
West thanked Bonner for “addressing that” and advised “my other board members not to address anything further” regarding Bonner’s picture. He told the board to refrain from commenting on the situation.
The meeting adjourned.
Blevins Superintendent Billy Lee was contacted Monday by this newspaper and was asked to provide a phone number for Bonner but Lee declined. Lee said he had been advised by the district’s lawyer that the school did not have to provide a number for an elected official and that the number could be obtained from the Hempstead County Courthouse where Bonner filed for the board position. The Hempstead County Clerk’s office did not have a phone number on file for Bonner. But the phone number was obtained by the newspaper by using Bonner’s physical address and an Internet data base.
A call to the Bonner home Monday was answered by a female who took a message for Bonner. Bonner did not return the call.
A short time later, Superintendent Lee issued the following statement:
“This district is deeply committed to creating and maintaining a strong and healthy school culture free of bullying, and any form of discrimination. I have no personal knowledge of any actions by district staff or elected officials. Please rest assured that if it comes to my attention that any staff member has behaved in a way inconsistent with this district’s values and policy of anti-discrimination, a swift investigation and response would be forthcoming.”