Racist emails could be behind the resignation of a member of the Florence District 1 school board.
Board member Glenn Odom resigned on Oct. 2, according to multiple online reports. Odom said he resigned because of change in residence, saying he moved outside the zone he represents.
But Odom’s resignation comes after it was revealed he called African-American members of the board “Darkies” in emails sent to a district office employee, according to scnow.com.
The employee, Kim Hoffman, received Odom’s emails on Aug. 29, and reported them to superintendent Randy Bridges, according to online reports.
In Odom’s first email to Hoffman, he was looking for a ride to a board meeting. He asked Hoffman to email the request to the rest of the board members, before saying, “Just don’t send it to the darkies,” according to wbtw.com.
About 30 minutes later, Odom sent another message to Hoffman.
“That was in jest about the darkies, just don’t send it to HD Pipkins,” according to wbtw.com.
The “HD” designation was also a racial slur, according to Alexis Pipkins, another board member. He said it stands for “head darky,” according to wbtw.com.
“My name is Alexis D. Pipkins but H is not my first initial,” Pipkins said in wbtw.com report. “There is no interpretation that the H was implying AD. It means Head Darky.”
Florence District One school board chairman Barry Townsend said he and Trisha Caulder, vice chairwoman of the board, met with Odom and asked him to resign, according to scnow.com.
Townsend said he and Caulder told the other board members about the situation, after meeting with Odom twice, according to wbtw.com.
Pipkins wasn’t happy about being left out of the meetings with Odom, or the fact that the issue wasn’t addressed at a September board meeting, according to wbtw.com. He said the meetings were conducted in secret, which is against board policy.
Pipkins made several recommendations to the board, including a resolution to denounce Odom’s actions, diversity training for the board and a SLED investigation, according to wbtw.com.
For his part, Townsend appears to be trying to move past the situation.
“The remaining eight of us now have the opportunity to collectively demonstrate to our students and our neighbors that offensive and hurtful speech has no place in our schools or our community,” Townsend said to scnow.com.
From board member Glenn Odom to district employee Kim Hoffman at 3:34 p.m. Aug. 29:
My school board buddy, that dangerous and irresponsible Porter Stewart, has decided that he is unable to go tomorrow night. Would you be so kind as to send an e-mail out to the Board asking if I could get a ride? Just don’t send it to the darkies.
From board member Glenn Odom to district employee Kim Hoffman at 4:08 p.m. Aug. 29:
That was in jest about the darkies, just don’t send it to HD Pipkins. Who ever wants to, we could meet at 229 S. Coit about 4pm and leave extra cars there. I don’t feel good about driving at night.