CANTON — Cherokee School Board Member Kelly Marlow’s political consultant Robert Trim declined to comment Wednesday night after watching his client vote in favor of holding an ethics hearing on her own actions.
Other residents, though, had plenty to say on the news and the polarized climate at the School Board meeting Wednesday night.
“This is the most absurd thing I’ve ever seen,” said Neva Lent, who said she supports Marlow and her questions about transparency in the school district. “It is critical that there is transparency.”
Lent said she has been particularly taken aback by the recent formation of Smart Citizens Rally Against Marlow, a group that has more than a few members who are teachers in the school district. Members of the group poured into the auditorium at Cherokee High School for the meeting Wednesday, making themselves known by their bright yellow T-shirts, which read “SCRAM!”
“I’ve never seen a group of teachers get away with this kind of intimidation on one person,” Lent said. “We have a lynch mob out here.”
SCRAM! supporter and Cherokee resident Carol Griffin, though, said the fight against Marlow and her letter to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, an accreditation agency, calling for an investigation of the district is just and warranted.
“She violated ethics, and they’re going to censure her,” Griffin said.
Griffin added that it was a “conflict of interest” for Marlow to be allowed to participate in the vote on her own ethics hearing.
“She shouldn’t have been allowed to vote,” Griffin said. “I’m glad she’s so confident.”
Chris Mann was more direct.
“I think that (vote) just shows the idiocy of one person on that board,” Mann said.
But Kara Martin, a Marlow supporter, said it was “commendable” for Marlow to vote for her own ethics hearing “to clear her name.”
Martin said the situation playing out in Cherokee County over the schools and Marlow’s actions as a member of the board is “disappointing.”
“It’s not even about the issue anymore,” Martin said.
All the fighting and mud-slinging, Martin said, is only serving to make Cherokee County look bad.
“We’re turning people away” from our county, Martin said.
Michelle Travis, though, said she has children in the school district and Marlow’s actions need to be addressed for the sake of all children in the county.
“I was very pleased (with the vote),” Travis said. “That was something needed to be addressed.”