Anchorage 54.0 °F
Fairbanks 52.0 °F
Juneau 53.0 °F
Don Smith Comments
ANCHORAGE, AK- Former School Board member and current School Board candidate Don Smith is in time-out.
After an interview with APRN earlier this week, his sharp words got heavy criticism from some Alaskans.
"When I was in Anchorage High School it was about 98 percent white kids and the balance were probably native and one or two black students in the school. Today, were 48 percent white, 52 percent other, and that is clearly causing problems," says Don Smith.
Smith feels there is an unfair balance in the district's diversity with the rise of more nationalities in the state’s largest city.
Some critics have a simple response.
"His comments are hurtful," says Kevin McGee, NAACP.
And Smith stands by his words.
"I'm not ashamed of anything I have ever said. I have never put down anybody and I don't want to, as a person of this community, to take on problems from Africa," says Smith.
Smith says Anchorage tax payers are having to pick up the tab when it comes to educating children from immigrant and refugee families.
"These aren't kids from Palmer or kids from Bethel, these are kids from somewhere else in the world that are being shipped here and all they have in their suitcase is a pair of underwear. They bring nothing to the community but expense," said Smith
One critic says Smith’s complaint about funding other ethnicities contradicts the foundation America is built on.
"They come to this country for a better life, so what are you trying to do, drive them away,” says McGee.
"I would say, figure out how you’re going to live your life somewhere but not here."
With less than a week left until elections, some Alaskan voters say they will be considering these comments when they hit the ballot box.
"How can an individual who anticipates and expects to run for Anchorage School Board make these kind of blatant statements, racist statements, about our diverse public school population," said McGee.