LaGRANGE — The local chapter of the NAACP is slated to host a legal rights workshop Saturday at two locations in Troup County.
The workshop will focus on residents’ rights when dealing with law enforcement and the court system, as well as students’ and parents’ rights in the educational system, according to Ernest Ward, president of the Troup County NAACP.
The first session will be 9 to 11 a.m. at the William J. Griggs Recreation Center, 716 Glenn Robertson Drive, in LaGrange, and the second session will be at the West Point Housing Authority, 1201 E. 12th St., from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The workshops are free and open to the public.
Attorneys from the Atlanta-based Southern Center for Human Rights will be on hand to give a presentation and answer questions about interactions between residents and law enforcement officers. Similarly, representatives of the Washington, D.C.,-based American Federation of Teachers, a professional union, are set to speak about the rights of parents and students as it pertains to school suspensions, disciplinary actions and other education-related topics.
Ward said the local NAACP chapter organized the event in hopes of educating people, and cautioned the event wasn’t meant to cast police officers or educators in a bad light.
“I just think that it’s a need in the community,” he said. “We’re not doing it to attack the credibility of our officers, or the credibility of our educators, we just think there are certain rights that people need to know.”
He hopes people knowing their rights can help encourage better interaction between residents and police officers, as well as school officials.
“Most of the time, when people call the NAACP, it’s reactive,” he said. “The issue has already happened, so I’m trying to get people educated and let them make contact with people who they can get business cards from, who do these types of things all the time. If they have an issue, they can contact these organizations.”
Ward said the goal of the workshop is to better educate people, which he hopes will lead to more even-handed interactions between people and authority figures.
“As the NAACP, we fight for things when it comes to discrimination and inequality,” he said. “Sometimes, these things don’t reach the level of discrimination. Sometimes it’s just people being unfair in how they implement policies and procedures. People need to know their rights, because if you know your rights, people will treat you differently.”
More information about the workshop is available by calling the Troup County NAACP at 706-302-0345.
Tyler H. Jones is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached by calling 706-884-7311, ext. 2155.