Walthall County residents split over judge's decision

By Kevin Wheeler - bio | email

WALTHALL COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Walthall County Schools Superintendent Danny McCallum is at the forefront of a school district that has been investigated by the U.S. Justice Department.

For years, students have been allowed to transfer schools within the district for various reasons, but a U.S.  judge has put a stop to that.

"The school board has been pretty lenient to the transfers," said McCallum. "They have followed the reasons for the transfers that were adopted by the board before them."

Last year about 250 white students and 50 black students transferred from the predominately black Tylertown High School to the majority white Salem Attendance Center.

Some said it was about race, but most of those who transferred said Salem was closer to where they lived.

"The parents who live in the Tylertown school district use their gas and their time to drive their child to Salem school," said Walthall County resident Dawn Baughman. "If they put the schools like they should be, then it's not going to be long before Salem is not going to have enough kids to go to school there."

Some are glad to hear about this court ruling.

"If you live in the Tylertown area, you should attend the Tylertown school," said Tylertown resident Emma Holmes. "Why go to Salem school when you live in the Tylertown area? If you live in the Salem area then you should go to the Salem school."

"When it comes to a better distribution of students, I think the court system is right," said Tylertown resident Janice Webb.

McCallum worries the district will lose students because of the ruling, but he says a law is a law.

"It is the law and you can't fight the law," McCallum said.

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