Neighbors in Bladen County rally together after Dr. Antonia Beatty’s death

Neighbors in Bladen County rally together after Dr. Antonia Beatty’s death
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 10:19 PM EDT
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ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. (WECT) - Less than a week after long-time educator Dr. Antonia Beatty took her own life, members of the community rallied together in her honor.

They shared memories of her, while also advocating for a forum to question Bladen County School board members on why they didn’t renew her contract as an Assistant Superintendent.

The West Bladen NAACP organized the rally outside of the Board of Education on Monday night, but the school board met virtually instead of in-person.

Members of the community are pushing for a face-to-face meeting with leaders to get the answers they’re looking for.

“She was one who was adamant about doing a great job and this in this county, she loved what she did,” said West Bladen NAACP President Corey Lyons. “Education was her life, and she gave her best to give her blood she gave her sweat, to give her tears. She gave her best.”

Many concerned neighbors stood up in front of the crowd on Monday night to call for an open forum, and get answers to the questions the community has been asking. One of those being, why the board decided not to keep Dr. Beatty on staff.

“She believed that everybody had a voice, and everybody should exercise that voice,” said a Former Co-Worker of Beatty Larry Hayes. “So if we have come closure, I think it’s gonna have to come from the Board of Education.”

Leaders of the meeting want another message to be taken away from the rally, that the community can’t wait to express its thanks to people who strive to make a difference.

“We need to make sure that we appreciate people,” Lyons said. “we need to make sure that people feel appreciated, that they feel loved or wanted because that love and appreciation may turn things for them. And when they have those suicidal thoughts they remember they are loved and they are appreciated.

Organizers say that they invited all nine members of the school board to the rally Monday night, but none were in attendance.

WECT reached out to all nine members, and only Christopher Clark and Dennis Edwards returned our emails saying that they were not informed of the rally.

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