By Curt Yeomans
Clayton County Public Schools Superintendent Edmond Heatley is not about to let law enforcement reign supreme over education. At least not on the basketball court.
Heatley is going to coach a team of school system employees next week against a team of Clayton County Sheriff's deputies, coached by Sheriff Kem Kimbrough, in a "Back to School" charity basketball game. The game will be held on Friday, Aug. 6, with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m., at Mt. Zion High School, which is located at 2535 Mt. Zion Pkwy., in Jonesboro.
There will be a $2 admission fee to the game the school system is touting as a heavyweight match-type event between the county's top public school officials, and one of its top elected law enforcement officials. School system Community Relations Liaison Rhonda Burnough said proceeds will be split between the superintendent's scholarship fund, and the Kem Kimbrough Foundation.
"This is just a way to bring the community together, to support some worthy causes," Burnough said. She later added, "The sheriff and the superintendent both have a lot of energy in them ... they enjoy having a good time."
In the end, however, it all boils down to a build-up to the first day of the 2010-2011 school year, which will begin on Aug. 9.
"We're just trying to do something to generate excitement in the community for the new school year," Burnough said.
But, a week out, Heatley is not sparing the Sheriff's Office in the trash-talking department. He said his team of 12 to 14 school system employees will be victorious over Kimbrough's 18-deputy team.
"Our team is going to win this thing," Heatley said. "Education is going to beat law enforcement. We cannot let them get a victory."
Of course, Kimbrough did not shy away from hyping his own team, either, when he explained how many players he has. "We're going to have a pretty deep bench, so I think we're going to do well," he said.
But, Kimbrough said he felt it was important for his office to get involved in this event, to support the children who are enrolled in the school system. "It's always good to support the community, and get involved in the schools, so we want to help in any way we can," he said. "Over the last year, we have developed a close relationship with the school system, and this is part of that growing relationship."s
It will not just be educators versus deputies taking the court on Aug. 6, however. Burnough said she is still looking for parents and students to volunteer to participate in a pre-game exhibition competition, that will take place at 6 p.m. So far, she said, she has gotten eight students, and one parent to sign up.
"I was hoping to get at least 22 students and parents to sign up," she said. The community relations liaison later added, "If I do get a lot of students and parents to sign up, then we'll probably do two 30-minute games. No one wants to have a lot of kids sign up, and then not give them a chance to play."
To sign up, call Burnough at (770) 473-2760.