HAMMOND, Ind. (CBS) — Protests against racism have reached the Hammond School Board.

On Tuesday, demonstrators there demanded more minority hiring. And CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar took their concerns to the superintendent.

A group of protesters held signs outside the School City of Hammond building.

“It seems that they are pulling out a lot of our black people who are qualified to be in these positions,” said Shirley Sheppard.

“Most of our principals are white. Our administrators are white,” said Wilma Reed, “and they’re not qualified as some of the blacks and Hispanics, and they did not get promoted.”

The protesters are concerned about the hiring of minorities for key positions within the district – and what they describe as a lack of transparency in the hiring process.

It is a point of contention school board member Carlotta Blake-King brought up at a virtual school board meeting on Tuesday night – clashing often with Supt. Scott Miller.

“I want that staff to be diverse, but primarily, they have to be effective,” Miller said.

Miller said like most urban districts, finding diverse and qualified candidates can challenging – especially for a district that is closing two of its four high schools.

“Yes, I would affirm that we need to have more staff in our buildings that are representative of the ethnic groups that are here,” Miller said.

“The last time that I heard any wishes were granted, it was Aladdin and the lamp, OK?” said the Rev. Homer Cobb, president of the NAACP Hammond Branch. “So wishes don’t change things.”

Cobb wrote to Supt. Miller about what he describes as institutional racism.

“We are very much committed to having a fair and equitable process for all of our positions,” Miller said.

But when asked if she thought qualified minority candidates had been passed over, Sheppard said, “I certainly think so, yes.”

Charlie De Mar