Latinx organization campaigns for Thurman’s resignation

Semillas speaks against Thurman, demands accountability from school board

HAMILTON COUNTY (WDEF) — Hamilton County School Board member Rhonda Thurman is under fire from local Latinx organization Semillas.

Several members of the group spoke at Thursday night’s school board meeting.

They want to see Thurman resign.

Thurman says the growing number of local Hispanic students who can’t speak English is becoming a “burden” for “teachers and taxpayers.”

A petition for her resignation already has over 1,200 signatures in the #rhondaresign campaign.

Semillas says Thurman responded to their efforts with, quote, “I’ll have to learn ‘when pigs fly’ in Spanish.”

“If one cannot fathom solutions to this that go beyond scapegoating minors for being the victims of inadequate resources and adults who complain about their very existence, you should not be working in any social services or education field let alone with children,” said Semillas Speaker Amy G.

“Why is it that there isn’t an abundance of translators at the schools with over 800 Latinx students and Spanish-speaking students?” said “Mo,” another Semillas member. “Why isn’t there an investment in translators besides just Spanish?”

Their petition demands Thurman’s immediate resignation, a Latinx task force created by the school board and an updated code of ethics prohibiting hateful language and behavior towards students and teachers.

However, Thurman says her comments are not racially motivated and that a petition for her removal will get Semillas nowhere.

“It’s just anything for them to get upset about and this is just the newest thing,” Thurman said. “They’re going to find out and some of the new school board members are going to find out what kind of burden it is when we have to start rezoning some of these kids.”

Thurman says the “burden” isn’t the students but rather the situation the school system now faces, as Hamilton County teachers and students who don’t speak Spanish suddenly face a growing language barrier.

“We are having to do things that we shouldn’t be having to deal with, and we are, but we don’t know where it’s going to end either,” Thurman said. “How many more students are going to be coming in that we’re going to have to make accommodations for? We don’t know. This is something we’ve never had to deal with before.”

After Thursday night’s work session, Thurman said she feels as if the recent controversy began simply because she was the one voicing the opinion.

She says if any of the other members of the school board had said anything similar, no one would’ve noticed.

Categories: Featured, Hamilton County, Local News