Multiple media outlets report a Florence County School District 1 school board trustee has resigned amid controversy over using a racial slur to refer to fellow African American board members.
The Florence Morning News reports former Florence School District 1 board member Glenn Odom on August 29 called some members of the board “darkies” in emails to a district employee.
The Morning News, which obtained a copy of the emails from an anonymous source, says Odom was asking the district employee to help him get a ride from fellow board members.
Odom asked the employee, "Would you be so kind as to send an email out to the Board asking if I could get a ride? Just don’t send it to the darkies,” the paper reports. Odom then sent a follow-up email saying, “That was in jest about the darkies,” according to the Morning News report.
The district employee immediately reported the email from Odom to district officials, WPDE reports.
Odom resigned on Oct. 2, according to WPDE. In his resignation, Odom cited moving out of the district which he was elected to serve, not the racist remarks in the emails. Odom had been a school board member for 25 years.
"It was a mistake,” Odom told the Morning News on Wednesday. “I should not have done it.”
Florence School District 1 board chairman Barry Townsend said Thursday he and vice chairman Trisha Caulder met with Odom on two occasions asking him to resign.
"There is no place in this district where this sort of speech is tolerated. Even in jest," Townsend said Thursday.
Other board members have expressed outrage about the handling of the situation, saying in a school board meeting Thursday the board's leadership knew about about the emails soon after they were sent, but that they didn't notify the rest of the board until late September.
Local activists are calling for all school board members to be given racial and cultural training following the incident.
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