LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — The Lawrence County NAACP is calling for the resignation of Lawrence County Board of Education member Shannon Terry. Terry, the recently appointed chairman of the Lawrence County Republican Party, posted an image on the party’s Facebook page containing Ku Klux Klan imagery.
“When I first saw the post, it was shock. I trembled ,” said Lawrence County NAACP President J.E. Turnbore. “We come here today to ask Shannon Terry, we are demanding your resignation. We do not want you governing over our children.”
NAACP representatives are calling the the image “dangerous” and “disturbing,” and Turnbore said he fears the post was made intentionally.
“At a time like this, we are in an election year,” said Turnbore. “We just shut down a school. Students are being transitioned to different schools. Racial tension is somewhat high, and this comes out? It just blew my mind. it just shook me to the point where I’m thinking this had to be intentional.”
The image features an elephant, the symbol of the Republican Party. Between the elephant’s legs, you can see hooded figures.
“These hooded figures have for over a century represented hatred, represented fear, represented danger and exclusion,” Alabama NAACP President Benard Simelton.
Terry has served as a member of the Lawrence County Board of Education since 2016, but some are now saying, he has lost their trust.
“It just really was devastating to see that someone who is going to be over our children and making decisions for minority children would place something like that on the book,” said Concerned Citizens of North Alabama Administrator Brenda Hampton.
Christine Garner, who is also a member of the Lawrence County Board of Education, said while they sometimes disagree on how to vote on issues, she has never had a problem serving alongside Terry. However, she said her concern is first and foremost for the children.
“If he does not step down, I hope that the school board and Shannon Terry will do everything in their power to make sure our kids are treated fairly at the schools they attend,” Garner said.
Terry provided a statement on Thursday in which he explained his involvement in the situation and said he would not step down.
I will not be resigning from my elected office on the Lawrence County School Board. The voters of District Four elected me to represent them and I am proud of the accomplishments of this administration over the past six years. I look forward to continuing to strive to give every student in Lawrence County the best opportunity to be successful.
I regret the mistake that was made, and it was just that – an unintended mistake. The image posted by me on a political Facebook page was not done with any malicious or harmful intent. Once made aware of the negative portion of the picture I immediately replaced it and followed up with an apology/explanation the next day. My error was rushing to post a thank you note to the outgoing chairperson, in doing so I did not properly review a cut and paste image used in that post from an internet search for a “GOP elephant”. I do not support or agree with any hate group agenda and certainly would not try to further their cause.
I strive to be an open and honest person who works to be a positive influence in my community. I feel I am being incorrectly portrayed by some over this unfortunate issue. I have apologized, taken responsibility for the post, corrected the image, and posted an explanation. I know that these actions to address this regretful error may not satisfy everyone, but I believe they demonstrate the sincerity of my feelings on this matter.Shannon Terry, Lawrence County Republican Party Chairman
Lawrence County NAACP representatives said the chapter plans to take further action to address the situation.