Secession Movement in Cary NC

Writing in the Raleigh (NC) News & Observer, columnist Ruth Sheehan points out that many relocated Yankees in Cary NC have finally grasped the Confederate concepts of local autonomy and states rights. With the federal government providing incentives for the Wake County school system to "diversify" its schools, "a group of Cary parents, with the support of Town Council member Don ‘Robert E. Lee’ Frantz, has proposed that the town secede" from the school system. The complete article follows.

__________________________________________________ REBEL YELL RESOUNDS IN CARY
Ruth Sheehan, Staff Writer

As the daughter-in-law of a woman whose lineage would qualify her to be a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, I am one Yankee gal who respects the admonition:

Keep your powder dry!

But who figured it would be a bunch of folks in Cary (as in Containment Area for Relocated Yankees) who would be fomenting the first real secession movement since North Carolina voted to dissolve its ties to the United States in May 1861.

A group of Cary parents, with the support of Town Council member Don "Robert E. Lee" Frantz, has proposed that the town secede — not from the union, but from the Wake County Public School system. They are fed up with their kids being reassigned to new schools — and then reassigned again. They are fed up with being at the mercy of the county schools. They want a system of their own.

These parents took their pleas to the Cary Town Council last week. And while the council didn’t immediately take up arms, er, endorse the idea, the members did vote to start a countywide task force to take municipalities’ concerns to the Wake County school board.

I’ve heard the task force will be called, "The way we did it (better) up North."

The task force will no doubt explore everything from the number of at- large school board seats to the "last resort" of out-and-out breaking away and seeking legislative authorization to start a separate school district to serve Cary alone.

For once the General Assembly’s unwavering belief in its own wisdom might come in handy if articles of secession are ever drawn up.

Many of the Cary confederates were still residing in their wintry home states when the North Carolina legislature began forcing all but a handful of counties to consolidate their school districts. The reasons were sundry, but one key goal was to avoid the sort of situation that persists in Halifax County, where the Roanoke Rapids city schools are full of wealthier white kids while the Weldon City and Halifax County school systems struggle to educate a poorer, heavily minority population.

Of course, that’s not what’s at work in Cary, which has become a melting pot of cultures over the years.

Sure, there are complaints about Wake County moving kids around to achieve economic diversity goals, the school system’s term for spreading poor kids around the county.

But since fewer than 20 percent of kids are moved for diversity purposes, that’s just talk. The majority of reassignments are because of growth — much of it in Cary itself.

Nope, this secession business isn’t about diversity at all.

It isn’t about busing, or the ratio of free- and reduced-lunch kids in Cary schools.

It’s about control. It’s knowing when you buy the beautiful new house in that booming new neighborhood, your kids will be going to the same elementary school, or the same middle school, without being forced to move mid-stream.

It’s about a town’s rights to run its own schools.

Which makes sense, given the historical sweep of secession in America.

After all, the Civil War wasn’t about slavery.

It was about states’ rights.