Mississippi school board member called students ‘retards’ during meeting

Published 11:11 pm Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A Lawrence County (Mississippi) School Board member used a slur to describe a group of students at a recent board meeting.

Video of the May 19 regular meeting of the Lawrence County School District Board was streamed live on YouTube and the video can be watched below.


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At the 1:59:07 mark, board president Wesley Bridges can be heard asking, “You got a question about corporal punishment?”

Board member and Monticello veterinarian Dr. Mark Herbert answers, “Evidently, we didn’t ask if we could beat … beat retards … no, disability students.”

Herbert laughs and laughter can be heard from other people in the room, though it’s difficult to tell who joins in the laughter, due to masks being worn by all visible.

It is unclear what steps have or will be taken to address the issue of referring to special education students by the slur Herbert used.

Bridges responded to The Daily Leader with a statement from the board:

“The Lawrence County School Board is extremely disappointed by the offensive and derogatory term used by an individual board member during our monthly School Board meeting that was held Tuesday May 19, 2020. This behavior is not representative of the passionate Administrators, Certified Staff, other employees, Parents/Citizens or the School Board of LCSD. As the spokesman for this board, I apologize to everyone, who viewed, read, heard about, or was otherwise negatively impacted by the hurtful comment. On a personal note, as the Member elected in District 5, we are there to serve, positively impact, implement policies, and adopt best practices (I don’t care what MSBA says) to insure that ALL of our precious children, (K-12) receive quality educational care. Our endeavor continues! Grace and peace…….

Rev. Wesley E. Bridges DMin
CEO Clergy For Prison Reform”

Messages seeking comments were not returned from Herbert.