By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor
PLEASANTVILLE, N.J. — On Sunday, community members will participate in a march against secession and racial segregation regarding the current petition to terminate the relationship between Absecon and Pleasantville’s schools.
Organizers of the march, which will begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Pleasantville High School, feel that terminating the send-receive relationship between Absecon and Pleasantville would increase racial segregation in these two school systems. Those who participate will march to Absecon, and you can sign up to attend this protest here.
“This act, if approved, would increase segregation and violate our state’s constitution. And the same cabal of highly paid lawyers and consultants are using the same secessionist tactics all across the state to further isolate already poor and isolated children,” Willie Dwayne Francois III, a pastor who helped organize the protest, said in an announcement. “Racial and economic segregation is not an accident nor is it a choice. It’s a result of deliberate policies and actions like these that go unnoticed and unchallenged. It’s time we confronted this glaring example of structural and systemic racism right here in our region and our state.”
Pleasantville initially resisted efforts to end the relationship, which will allow Absecon to send its students to Absegami High School in Galloway Township. However, Pleasantville withdrew its opposition to Absecon’s petition during a special Board meeting in late January of this year, and that allowed it to proceed unopposed.
As part of the agreement, the K-8 Absecon school has sent its students to Pleasantville High School for a number of years. The petition to end the relationship still requires approval from New Jersey’s commissioner of education. Pleasantville High School also receives students from the Pleasantville Public School district.
According to Public School Review, the Absecon K-8 school district has 42% minority enrollment for the 2021 academic year, the majority of whom are Black or hispanic. In contrast, 99% of Pleasantville High School’s student body consists of racial minorities.
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