By Natalie Anderson
Staff Reporter

During last Tuesday’s school board meeting the Opelika City School Board heard from concerned Opelika resident Oscar Penn in regards to a incident at Opelika Middle School late last year. According to him, a student skit was led by a group of girls who began their performance and were interrupted by a group of boys in black masks.
Penn brought printed documents to the meeting including photos from the assembly at Opelika Middle School and photos of the masks from 2013‘s first installment of “The Purge” saga.
“(I’m) not upset at the students for them doing what they were told to do or given an opportunity to do, but as you can see for yourself, there’s a total difference (between the masks used from The Purge and the masks brought out to the assembly),” Penn said. Penn’s concern was the possible use of “blackface” during a school assembly.
While the board took no immediate action, Chairwoman Patsy Parker thanked Penn for coming to them with his concerns and for caring about the community.
Also, the board recognized OCS “Teachers of the Year” during their meeting. Teachers’ families attended the ceremony and were introduced as each individual was honored for their outstanding dedication and hard work in the teaching profession.
Each teacher was awarded with a silver platter handed out by local principals. According to school administrators and OCS Superintendent Dr. Mark Neighbors, the select teachers were chosen because “they care about children and care that they learn.”
The following are the 2019-20 OCS Teachers of the Year:
Carver Primary – Lauren Lee
Jeter Primary – Mary Fleming
Southview Primary – Amy Blackburn
Morris Avenue Intermediate – Kelly Cain
West Forest Intermediate – Sydney Hinkle
Opelika Middle School – Cara Burnett
OCS Elementary Teacher of the Year – Danielle Rosener and
OCS Secondary Teacher of the Year – Mandi Edwards.
In other business, the board:

  • approved personnel recommendations
  • approved a decrease in the state per-mile travel reimbursement rate for use of personal cars
  • approved an out-of-state field trip request
  • approved surplus of promethean boards and projectors for donations/recycling
  • heard regular reports on financial and child nutrition
    The next board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 25. Their meetings are held at OCS Board of Education facility located at 300 Simmons St.