Buses not classes: Taylor County’s troubling struggle with race in schools

Oriel Blalock worked for six years supervising youth programs at a Perry area Boys and Girls Club. But having completed a master’s degree, she applied last summer for a teaching job in Taylor County Schools.

She didn’t land the job, even at a time when COVID-19 has put major pressure on schools as far as retaining staff. But it must startle Blalock to hear the job had been given to someone without the same level of education; in fact the person who got the job lacked the required degree to apply at all.

The best explanation Blalock can see? She is Black, but the person hired by Taylor Middle School is White.

“I’m not sure if you are familiar with Taylor County, but there’s a lot of systemic racism, whether it’s blatant and in your face or not,” she told Florida Politics. “There’s no one calling you the N-word. But as far as employment, nobody has leadership roles in the schools that is African American.”

In fact, there are few Black classroom teachers working today in the Taylor County Schools, according to records obtained by Florida Politics. In a district with roughly 170 teachers in the entire county, only three

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