Posted on March 1, 2005

Call Berates ‘Poor Blackie’

Joe Trost And Kate N. Grossman, Chicago Sun-Times, Mar. 1

Leaders of 11 south suburban public high schools said Monday their planned split from a 35-school athletic conference had nothing to do with race.

But a call Sunday from a school board member’s home phone to a Chicago Sun-Times reporter’s voice mail raises questions about racial motives because of the language — which included the term “poor blackie” — used in the recording.

The woman on the recording did not identify herself, but caller ID indicated the call came from Lincoln-Way high school board member Maureen Jagmin’s home in Frankfort. The caller phoned a reporter, but instead of hanging up, continued to speak to someone who was with her, leaving that conversation on the reporter’s voice mail.

The caller refers to three mostly black schools that are part of the 35-school conference, the South Inter-Conference Association, or SICA.

“The schools that used to be good like Rich Central, Rich East and Rich South are all failing schools,” the woman said. “Why are they failing? Because of what’s in ‘em. One of the teachers right down the street said he couldn’t wait to get the heck out from 30 years ago when he started teaching when it was just the normal kid. I mean it’s a zoo.”

Earlier, she spoke in general about black people.

“. . . It’s getting to the point where I’m tired of the welfare, tired of the mentality that poor blackie because let’s give them a job so they can be supporting themselves and, be, make them work. You know, forget this I want to be a bum type of thing. I think it’s a forever problem in this country, you know, it’s never going to go away in this area here.”

The caller referenced a family member by name while discussing a different issue involving Lincoln-Way, and the man she was talking with referred to her as Maureen.

But Jagmin, , said it’s not her on the recording. “I’m flatly denying it,” Jagmin said Monday. “I would never say anything like that to a reporter. . . Why would anyone say anything like that to begin with?”