A rose to Lowndes County School District Board member Jacqueline Gray, who alone among the five-member board voted against a proposal leaving the decision about whether or not district students should be vaccinated up to parents. The board bowed to pressure exerted by a large gathering of anti-mask parents against a mask mandate even though the overwhelming majority of students are not vaccinated, even as there are indications that the new variant of COVID-19 may pose a serious health risk. On Thursday — the same day of the school board meeting — the state health department announced that a Mississippi teen had died of COVID. There are currently 10 children hospitalized with coronavirus in Mississippi, with three in the ICU. Gray acted in the best interest of the students rather than give in to the mob mentality that dominated the meeting.
A rose to Mississippi State’s College of Education, which has added a new minor in music and culture this fall. The program will focus on non-Western music, especially the music of Africa and the African Diaspora. We encourage students to pursue a minor because we believe a well-rounded education should include learning in fields other than the student’s primary field of study. This particular minor is a great addition. Sociologists have long understood that one of the best ways to understand a people is through their culture and music. The nations of Africa are an emerging influence, economically and geo-politically. At a time when we are seeing a disturbing rise in nativism and nationalism in our nation, a better understanding of other societies is important to the health and prosperity of all peoples.
A rose to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department for establishing a secure location where people can complete transactions made online. On Thursday, the LCSD held a ceremony officially designating two special parking spaces in front of Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office for people to conduct those transactions. The space is marked with a sign, “In Memory of Micheal Jones.” Jones was a Lowndes County man who was murdered as he attempted to pick up a cell phone he purchased via a phone app in 2020. A juvenile has since been arrested and charged in Jones’ killing. The tragedy underscores the danger that can emerge when conducting business with strangers. We applaud the LCSD for helping make these exchanges safe and recommend people to use this space when doing business with someone they don’t know.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.