The ongoing protest demanding to remove Paducah Public Schools Superintendent Donald Shively and members of the board of education continued Sunday at Paducah Tlighman High School in Paducah, Kentucky. Approximately 100 protestors marched in front of the high school with signs calling for removal and to get out and vote.
The protests and marches stem from a photo that circulated on social media a couple of weeks ago picturing Shively and one other in blackface at a Halloween party in 2002. Shively was wearing a Paducah Tilghman Tornado shirt, gold chain around his neck, and a do-rag. The woman in the picture had an Afro hairstyle and a padded bottom. The caricatures representing African-American students have upset students, parents, and the community.
Robert Shy, founder of 3E Leadership Academy was at the protest and shared his thoughts with WKY Community Living. The Academy is an organization that’s goal is to increase the academic level of students in Paducah and surrounding areas. It’s focus is to help students prepare for college or any post-secondary educational institutions.
“Many of Dr. Shively’s supporters state they want him to stay because he has brought many diversity programs to the district and student achievement has increased. That was going to happen regardless of who was in charge because the percentage of minority students has increased tremendously over the last seven years. The achievement increases are faux.” said Shy.
“There’s a school within a school at Paducah Middle School and Paducah Tilghman. There’s a school for the middle class and well-to-do students and there’s a school for the poor and African-American students. There’s tremendous segregation within our segregated schools and African-American students aren’t performing well. The achievement gap has increased. The Nation’s Report Card which is a great evaluation of state’s and school districts backs this statement up.”
Shy believes that if the sole purpose to keep Shively on as superintendent is because he’s helped advance African-American students academically, that’s simply not the case and he should be removed from his position.
The leader of the protest was Martaj Marks, a recent Paducah Tilghman graduate. Melinda Jones, a former employee of the Paducah Public Schools was also an organizer of Sunday’s march.
Speakers at the event were Martaj Marks, parents Melinda Jones, Randy and Michelle Marshall and several high school students. Both black and white students represented those in favor of dismissal.
According to Shy, there were no opposing parties at the march. He said the main message from the gathering was that ‘kids are being failed by the superintendent and the board of education. Both need to resign.’