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No one shows up to planned masked protest against MNPS director

FOX 17 News

A planned masked protest draws a huge crowd to Tuesday’s Metro School Board meeting, but those demonstrators never showed up.

A group of vocal parents have been coming to the meetings, calling on members to fire Dr. Joseph as MNPS Director.

Other parents say they’re just sick and tired of all the dysfunction surrounding leadership.

It’s been going on for months now and likely won’t end any time soon.

Tuesday’s drama all started when one mom took to the podium saying Dr. Joseph needs to leave his post as director, and a group of MNPS stormed out of the board room.

Kelly Watlington, the lone voice of opposition to the controversial leader, said Dr. Joseph’s goal is to “divide and conquer.”

“I have to say what I’ve got to say and teachers, administrators, people who work at central office, there are so many people that are behind me they can’t speak,” says Watlington. “I have to be the voice for them because nobody else seems to want to be.”

A masked protest planned to empower those who can’t speak, never happened, likely because a Metro ordinance largely forbids masks inside public buildings for security reasons.

Dr. Joseph says you need a thick skin to have his job, and he has one.

“When I heard about it, it’s disappointing that in 2019 you have the people who don’t have the cultural astuteness to recognize that masks could be offensive,” says Dr. Joseph.

Following a massive budget shortfall, and complaints over how sexual assault cases among faculty are being investigated, there’s been a vocal group calling for his resignation.

But others think the problem they have with Dr. Joseph has nothing to do with his performance at all, but the color of his skin.

“Some people think he deserves the treatment, and some feel he doesn’t, what I feel is the focus needs to be on whomever is doing the best they can to make sure things are turned around for the better of our children,” says Deyonna Fairbanks, one of the parents who left the meeting.

Dr. Joseph also said anonymity doesn’t go over well with him, and if any of the protestors who planned to wear masks want to speak with him, they can do so directly, and face to face.

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