Endangered Species: Lumberton Panthers
Slowly but surely, history is repeating itself. In a segregated South, students from Lumberton, Purvis, Sumrall, Little River and Beaumount were bussed to John Jefferson High School because of separate but unequal education. I think the Lumberton Line Consolidated School District became integrated in 1969. Based on a news report, Lumberton students are getting back on the bus and will be bussed to either Purvis or Poplarville. Senator Rick Norton (R-Hattiesburg) submitted SB2498 that would require students from Lumberton to either attend school in Purvis or Poplarville and the bill passed with a vote of 40-9. There’s all this speculation about if this bill passes but with the Republicans holding a super majority, it’s not a matter of if the bill passes, it’s a matter of when the bill passes. Again, voter apathy has led to the demise of another essential part of Lumberton. We’re a city with no police department (due to the political agenda of the current mayor and board), we’re a city without industry (due to the greed of current and past elected officials in Lumberton) and under the Crider Administration, it was announced that Lumberton will no longer have a school after the graduation of the Class of 2018. I don’t think you’ve let that sink in…the Class of 2018 will be the last graduating class from Lumberton High School. Baxterville will continue to have a school system but the Lumberton Panthers are on the verge of extinction.There’s the old saying that those that don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it and here we are…repeating history. It seems that the entire world is moving forward but Lumberton continues to move backwards. Just the idea of students getting bussed in 2019 does not bode well with me but the signs were on the wall and people refused to acknowledge them. For years, Lumberton has been plagued with voter apathy. Year after year people would refuse to vote, saying their vote didn’t matter and now their words are being fulfilled. With a supermajority, it’s becoming more and more evident that your vote does not matter. People didn’t blink an eye when an important clause of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was removed. What people didn’t realize was the removal of that clause removed the Department of Justice and the recent special election in Lumberton proved how they could blatantly disenfranchise voters and there’s basically nothing that could be done. The failure of Initiate 42 gave the supermajority more authority to dismantle the educational systems of Mississippi. I find it odd that Gov. Phil Bryant was one of the first to say he would not allow refugees in the State of Mississippi but found $200 million dollars to fund a tax break for a foreign tire company while claiming there’s not enough money to fund education in Mississippi. Interesting.
Personally, I think the students will have a better quality of education at one of the neighboring schools because the spirit of nepotism has invaded the Lumberton School District. However, I am concerned for those employed there and their families. This move to eliminate a school district in Lumberton will have a greater impact that you could imagine. If…..when the school is closed Bancorp South in Lumberton will also close. The Lumberton School District is the biggest depositor and without their deposits the executives of Bancorp South will quickly realize that it’s not cost-effective to keep a bank in a city without any major depositors. So keep shunning views/ideas that you are not comfortable with because you don’t like the messenger because your need to stay chained to the past is causing your future to crumble. Drive around Lumberton and look at the number of houses that are on the market. When most people are looking to buy a home, they check on the school system. Why do you think so many people are moving to Oak Grove? Lumberton has no industry, no access to medical treatment after 5:00 p.m., no police department and in a couple of years, no school. I’ve said it time and time again, failure to vote has dangerous consequences. Are you concerned now? Go Panthers! Has taken on a whole new meaning.