DOWNTOWN SAVANNAH, GA – A viral video showing several Savannah Arts Academy students burning a campaign sign for mayor Edna Jackson has members in the faith community speaking out.
The video hit social media and our newsroom a week ago. Throughout the past week, questions of disciplinary action were asked and demanded.
Leaders of Savannah’s African American churches still want answers.
“A Pandora’s box if you will, has been opened here and now we simply want to sweep it under the rug and hope it goes away well it’s not,” says First Bryan Baptist Church Pastor Aaron James.
The video appears to depict several students in a ritual of burning the mayoral campaign sign of incumbent mayor Edna Jackson.
“These young people who have been so terribly misguided in their thinking an actions have touched a very dark and deep place in some people in our community,” James says.
Following the school systems decision that it has no power to discipline the students, faith leaders fear the wrong message is getting across that acts of hate are acceptable in today’s society.
“We’re not trying to vilify these young people not at all, what we do want again is for it to be a teachable moment. We don’t want these young people to only be the learners of this lesson but we want everyone to be a learner from this particular situation,” says James with several ministers from the downtown and surrounding area draped behind him.
They believe school leaders should still hold more accountability over the students they add are already bound by a code of ethics in the school system.
“At this point, this is the measure that we have to take because we do want to hear from the superintendent, we do want to hear from the school board,” James says.
One more message pastors want to send is that forgiveness first and foremost should be offered to these students. It also being ten days before the city elections, they urge people to the polls to vote in a way of sending their response to the students’ actions.