A school in Atlanta is facing a complaint after a mother claims the school was assigning Black students to certain classes. A debate has been fueled about if this is considered illegal or appropriate for the children.
According to CNN, the mother, Kila Posey, filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. Posey claims that during the 2020-2021 academic school year, Mary Lin Elementary School Principal Sharyn Briscoe appointed only two second-grade classes for Black students without the consent of families.
However, white students were placed in all six second-grade classes.
Briscoe’s attorney, Regina Molden, said in a statement to CNN that Briscoe was “extremely concerned about the recent allegations of wrongdoing.”
“Given that this is an active investigation, however, Ms. Briscoe is limited in what information she can share right now, but is looking forward to telling her side of the story at the appropriate time and place,” Molden said.
“All anyone has to do is pick up a yearbook from last year and previous years to see that that any claim of grouping Black students together is obviously ridiculous,” a group of Black families from Mary Lin said in a statement obtained by CNN.
“We have a small number of Black students, but it’s a very loving and inclusive community of families of all races and backgrounds, led by our well-respected principal.”
If the claims are true, an expert says grouping students by race in certain classes can benefit them because it prevents feelings of isolation and results in higher success rates. Other legal expert says that the school may be breaking the law.
Michaele Turnage Young, senior counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., says segregating students violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the 14th Amendment and possibly state or local anti-discrimination laws.
“Essentially what has happened is these children are being discriminated against because of their race,” Young said.