HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Hattiesburg Public School District board member has resigned Tuesday afternoon.
Board member Mary Williams resigned after serving for six years, according to Jas N Smith, HPSD public relations director.
Williams said she had two reasons for resigning from the board.
"I was up for reappointment a year ago, and at that time I was considering leaving," Williams said. "Because we had a lot of things going on, I was asked to stay an additional year, so I did agree to do that. I did stay the year, and that's the time we're at right now."
Williams' other reason for resigning is more personal. She said she feels she has given all she can give to the district.
"Given all that's going on in the district, I may have considered staying a little bit longer, but I also did feel that I've contributed what I can contribute to the district," she said. "I've said this from the beginning. If I ever felt like I reached the point where I could no longer contribute be have an affect on the district, then I would step away for someone else to come and step in. I feel that I'm at that point right now."
Williams said with all of the current struggles facing the district, the community needs to be involved more than ever.
"This is a time for us to stand in support of the children," she said. "There are a lot of things that have been on the news. A lot of things that have been covered, and a lot of things have been said. When it comes right down to it, 4,500 children come to the Hattiesburg Public School District asking to be educated. That's their chance for an education. We as a community need to be mindful of that when we speak and in how we behave."
Williams said she is not sure when her position will be filled, but she said she hopes it is filled quickly to ensure a smooth transition. She also said she hopes her successor speaks his or her mind.
"I think it's always important to speak out," she said. "When I came on this board, I said 'I will not be easy.' I came here to speak up and speak out and to effect change in the best way that I can. Everyone has to do what they feel is the best way to proceed, but that's how I proceeded. I hope that everyone speaks, and everyone listens. It's important that we talk about things that are difficult to talk about and that we talk to people that we disagree with. Personally, I feel that the most that gets done is when we speak to people that we disagree with. We need to have those conversations."