Local NAACP calls for resignation of Lawrence County school board member

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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The Lawrence County NAACP is calling for the resignation of Lawrence County School Board member Shannon Terry. Terry, the recently appointed chairman of the Lawrence County Republican Party, posted an image on the party’s Facebook page featuring images of the Ku Klux Klan.

“When I first saw the message, it was a shock. I was shaking,” Lawrence County NAACP President JE Turnbore said. “We come here today to ask Shannon Terry, we demand your resignation, we don’t want you governing our children.

NAACP representatives call the image “dangerous” and “disturbing,” and Turnbore said he fears the posting was intentional.

The Lawrence County Republican Party is under scrutiny after the organization’s Facebook page used a photo of a GOP elephant that featured Ku Klux Klan imagery.

“At a time like this, we are in an election year,” Turnbore said. “We have just closed a school. Students are transferred to different schools. The racial tension is somewhat high, and it stands out? It just blew me away. it just shook me to the point where I think it must have been intentional.

The image depicts an elephant, the symbol of the Republican Party. Between the legs of the elephant you can see hooded figures.

“These hooded figures have represented hatred, fear, danger and exclusion for more than a century,” said Benard Simelton, president of the Alabama NAACP.

Terry has been a member of the Lawrence County School Board since 2016, but some now say he has lost their trust.

“It was really devastating to see that someone who was going to look after our children and make decisions for minority children would put something like this in the book,” said Brenda Hampton, administrator of Concerned Citizens of North Alabama.

Christine Garner, who is also a member of the Lawrence County School Board, said that although they sometimes disagreed on how to vote on issues, she never had a problem serving alongside Terry. However, she said her concern was first and foremost for the children.

“If he doesn’t resign, I hope the school board and Shannon Terry will do everything in their power to make sure our children are treated fairly in the schools they attend,” Garner said.

Terry issued a statement Thursday in which he explained his involvement in the situation and said he would not resign.

I will not resign from my elected position on the Lawrence County School Board. The voters of District Four elected me to represent them and I am proud of the accomplishments of this administration over the past six years. I look forward to continuing to strive to give every student in Lawrence County the best chance at success.

I regret the mistake that was made, and it was just that – an unintentional mistake. The image I posted on a political Facebook page was not made with malicious or harmful intent. Once informed of the negative part of the image, I immediately replaced it and followed up with an apology/explanation the next day. My mistake was to rush to post a thank you note to the outgoing president, in doing so I did not properly review a cut and pasted image used in this post from an internet search for a “GOP elephant” . I do not support or agree with any hate group’s agenda and certainly will not attempt to further their cause.

I strive to be an open and honest person who works to be a positive influence in my community. I feel like I’m being portrayed incorrectly by some about this unfortunate issue. I apologized, took responsibility for the message, corrected the image and posted an explanation. I know that these actions to remedy this unfortunate mistake may not satisfy everyone, but I believe they demonstrate the sincerity of my feelings on this matter.

Lawrence County Republican Party Chair Shannon Terry

Lawrence County NAACP officials said the chapter plans to take further action to address the situation.

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