by: Richard Elliot Updated:ATLANTA —
School and neighborhood groups are quickly distancing themselves from a controversial flier opposing Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis' redistricting plan. The flier depicts Davis wearing Ku Klux Klan robes surrounded by five people also wearing hooded robes.
Graphic artist Nathaniel Dyer told Channel 2’s Richard Elliot he created the flier and called it “psychological warfare.”
Dyer opposes Davis' redistricting plan because he believes it unfairly targets predominantly African-American schools for closure. Dyer does not have any children in the school district.
According to APS, the district has about 47,000 students, but more than 60,000 seats. It wants to shut down some under populated schools and fill up others in an effort to save money. Davis has said his plan only targets those schools for closure.
The plan has drawn a lot of opposition from neighborhood groups who want to keep their local school open, including residents of Peoplestown. Their local school, D.H. Stanton, was not on the preliminary closure list, but did make the final list.
Someone passed out the controversial fliers at a meeting between parents and APS representatives at D.H. Stanton Thursday night, but Peoplestown residents were quick to condemn it.
"I thought it was appalling, disgusting, crass, bigoted, incendiary -- all the things that you hate about misinformation that gets distributed," said Rev. Claiborne Jones, the director of Emmaus House. "It had nothing to do with us. We need to get that word out that we completely condemn this particular brochure."
Across town, Towns Elementary supporter Joyce Grangent echoed Jones’ sentiment.
"I really think that's over the top," said Grangent. "While we don't agree with the superintendent's decisions, I definitely would not classify him as a Klansman. So I think that's over the top."
An APS spokesman said the flier was not worthy of comment.
Dyer vows to continue distributing the flier even though neighborhood groups oppose him.
"I can respect their tactics and I just have mine. I'm not asking them to sign off on it or anything like that," he said.
The Atlanta School Board will vote on the school closures next week.