Group pushes for school district to hire counselor of a minority - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Group pushes for school district to hire counselor of a minority race

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Sign outside of counselors office at Quincy Junior High. Sign outside of counselors office at Quincy Junior High.
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Quincy Youth Alliance, a local organization whose goal is to empower kids, is pushing the Quincy Public School District to hire a counselor of a minority race.

Organization member Trudy Gay says there is a need for minorities for kids to identify with.

Quincy school district currently has around 65-hundred people enrolled.  Almost 42,000 people live in the city of Quincy, of those 10.1 percent of the population is a minority, according to Census Data.

In the Quincy Public Schools, nine counselors serve students. None of them are minorities.

Members of Quincy Youth Alliance wants to see that change, they say minority students need to have someone they can better relate to.

"Their concern is that they have no one to talk to, no one that understands," Youth Alliance board member, Trudy Gay said.  "It's not a situation where their motivated in school.  I think by bringing on a minority counselor, male or female makes no difference, is going to give the children someone to identify with and to give them inspiration and encouragement."

School officials say it's difficult to find qualified candidates for counselor jobs, especially those who want to move to Quincy. The district also says, it's illegal to hire based on race or ethnicity.

"My goal is to make sure we have enough of them to go around, and that's a challenge," Interim Superintendent, Cal Lee said.  "As far as minorities go, there's a supply and demand issue. The demand is great, but the supply is limited."

Lee says the district knows the importance of a role model who can specifically relate to minorities. He says the district will do what it can to make it happen.

"We will work hard to make it happen," Lee said.  "It's a tough battle, it's an uphill battle.  That doesn't mean we won't do it, or that we can't do it, and it certainly doesn't mean that we won't try."

The school district says currently, there are no open positions in the district to hire a new counselor.  The Youth Alliance wants the minority counselor to be in addition to the other staff.

The Youth Alliance group plans to meet with the district next week to help in the recruiting efforts.

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