ROCK HILL, S.C. - Winthrop University will host a Sept. 28 showing of the documentary "Corridor of Shame" about inequities in South Carolina’s educational system and will feature the documentary’s director among a panel discussion afterwards.
The 58-minute documentary, which was first shown on SCETV in May, will be shown at 7 p.m. in Plowden Auditorium.
Producer and director Charles "Bud" Ferillo focuses on the school districts along the I-95 corridor who find themselves scrambling to provide an education for their youngsters. "Corridor of Shame" spotlights the extraordinary daily struggle of these rural school districts who must endure the effects of reduced state funding over the past several years and the diminished tax base experienced by local governments due to plant closings.
Viewers see the stark results of that struggle: schools without an adequate fire alarm system; schools where raw sewage seeps into hallways following rainstorms; schools where students are forced to wear their winter coats to stay warm in frigid classrooms.
The documentary was supported by many of South Carolina’s leading foundations and non-partisan community leaders. Its showing at Winthrop and at other places across the state comes as South Carolinians await the outcome of a lawsuit, Abbeville County School District v. The State of South Carolina. Thirty-six school districts joined the case as plaintiff school districts to say that the state has failed to provide an equal educational opportunity for students in poor, rural school districts. Of those, eight acted as the representative plaintiffs in the trial whose testimony ended in December. A decision is expected in the next several weeks.
"Virtually every audience that has seen this documentary has been tremendously moved by its candor," said Ferillo. "It has taken the audience from a level of unawareness to forced education to activism, all of which has exceeded our expectations and is very gratifying."
He has seen individuals, organizations and churches adopt some of the schools shown in the documentary. "This speaks to the power of individual response but none of this will take the place of the power of the courts and the Legislature to provide for the education of every S.C. child," Ferillo said.
After the documentary screening at Winthrop on Sept. 28, a panel will examine the many complexities of the state’s educational systems. Panel members are: Ferillo, founder and president of Ferillo & Associates Inc. a public relations and advertising firm in Columbia, S.C.; Janice Poda, deputy superintendent for the state Department of Education who testified in the Abbeville v. State of South Carolina case; and Terry Peterson, former chief advisor to former Education Secretary Richard W. Riley and the director of the National Afterschool and Community Learning Network and senior fellow with the USC Educational Foundation.
Sponsors are the Richard W. Riley College of Education, Departments of Sociology and Political Science and the National Alliance of Black School Educators Winthrop Chapter.
For more information, contact Susan Green, associate professor of education, at 803/323-2476.