The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida on August 23, 1984 · Page 7
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The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida · Page 7

Orlando, Florida
Issue Date:
Thursday, August 23, 1984
Page 7
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L The Orlando Sentinel, Thursday, August 23, 1 984 7 NAACP leader disputes statement about endorsement By Jim Runnels OF THE SENTINEL STAFF TAVARES The leader of a group of black ministers who grilled School Superintendent Carl Pettitt on Thursday about his hiring practices may have overstated his group's role in local political endorsements, the leader of the local branch of the NAACP said Wednesday. Rev. R.M. Manning, president of the Lake County Ministerial Alliance, said Wednesday that the alliance was responsible for a favorable endorsement of Pettitt by a black voter's group during the 1980 election. Manning said Wednesday that the NAACP and the Lake County Voter's League endorsed Pettitt in 1980. "The ministerial alliance interviewed Pettitt and advised them on the endorsement," Manning said. T.H. Poole, president of the local NAACP chapter, said Wednesday that Manning was mistaken. "We have a national policy that prohibits endorsing political candidates," Poole said of the NAACP. "We didn't endorse Pettitt. The Lake County Voter's League did, but that is a separate organization." Poole, who also is president of the Voter's League, said he had no prior knowledge of the meeting between Pettitt and Manning's group, and said that the group did not ask for any factual data to use in questioning Pettitt's hiring practices. "We have everything we could get on file," Poole said. "Nobody asked us for any input, and we certainly didn't know they were going to meet with him." Before the meeting, Manning said that the group had decided not to endorse Pettitt again, and that it will meet with him to tell him that it will endorse another candidate. Manning said the group would give Pettitt reasons why he was not being endorsed, and he said it would name the candidate it supports. However, at the end of the three-hour meeting, Manning denied that he had made the statement. He said the purpose of the meeting was a routine candidate's interview, and that Pettitt's status had not been determined. At the end of the meeting, Manning said no endorsement voul l be made, and that the gathering had been held to discuss some "important issues." BLACKS From 1 Miller as inaccurate, including: Manning's claim that every black hired within the school system during Pettitt's term was hired at the orders of the federal government. There is no federally imposed hiring policy and nobody has been hired by federal order. The only federal order dealing with the hiring of blacks was one that told the school board to put Walter Berry at the top of their list for consideration of an administrative job. Berry subsequently was hired as assistant principal of Leesburg Junior High School, but was turned down this year when he applied for the position of Rimes Fifth and Sixth Grade Center principal. The county has one black principal. Manning's complaint.that a black minister has never been invited to preach the sermon at a countywide baccalaureate service. The county does not hold a countywide baccalaureate service, but leaves the service arrangement up to each school. Two of the ministers in attendance told Manning that they knew of black ministers who had preached such services. Manning's charge that Pettitt and Miller have failed to try to recruit blacks into the school system. Miller told Manning and his group that extensive recruiting efforts, including field trips to other states, have been tried, with poor results. "They won't come here because we can't compete with other counties offering $1,000 more," Miller said. "When I'm standing there, Indian River and Broward (counties) are standing right there with me making better offers." Miller said one Lake County native who graduated from Florida A&M University chose a job in Broward County rather than take a promised job in Lake County. Manning's claim that black students in the county do not receive deserved academic recognition and that Pettitt's administration is keeping black students from being recognized. Pettitt said the standards for recognition are set by the school board. Last year the school board required a 3.8 grade point average, and no student was honored who scored a grade of C or lower, no matter the grade point average. The school board decided at its last meeting to relax those standards slightly. A 3.8 average still will be required, but a C grade will not necessarily disqualify students from being honored. Concerning the academic awards, Pettitt said, "They'll get what they earn. If you show me that some student has been discriminated against, I'll take action." Manning said the "cry" of black students "is not being heard" by Pettitt and his administrators, and that "black students are not receiving the same treatment white students are." Pettitt disagreed, and pointed out that black students are making better strides in academic test results than white students are. Pettitt said the ministers need to "put the mantle on your own shoulders" by urging black students and teachers to gain recognition through excellence, not through special concessions made because they are black. Jennie H. Olsen, 91, 412 Pine Valley Drive, Mount Plymouth, died Tuesday. Born in Norway, she moved to Mount Plymouth from Decatur, 111., in 1950. She was a homemaker and Methodist. She was a Gold Star Mother of World War II. Survivors: sons, Arthur C, Norman S., both of Mount Plymouth, Robert W., Longwood; seven grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren. Baldwin-Fairchild Funeral Home, Apopka. VOTE SEPT. 4 TO - H 7? V v Paid Political Ad Paid for by Campaign Treasurer Ann Carson ? an Conditio Your Hoe . 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