Atlanta elementary school accused of segregating Black and white students

‘It was just disbelief that I was having this conversation in 2020,’ says mother who confronted her daughter’s school over segregation policy

Bevan Hurley
Wednesday 11 August 2021 18:56
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<p>Mary Lin Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia.</p>

Mary Lin Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia.

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A mother in Atlanta has accused her daughter’s elementary school of segregating Black and white students.

Kila Posey, who is Black, filed a federal discrimination complaint against Mary Lin Elementary School, claiming that the principal separated students song racial lines because it helped them learned better.

Ms Posey said the principal, Sharyn Briscoe, who is also Black, put the practice in place as she thought it was in the children’s best interests.

"We’ve lost sleep like trying to figure out why would a person do this," Ms Posey told WSBTV.

“First, it was just disbelief that I was having this conversation in 2020 with a person that looks just like me – a Black woman,” she said.

“It’s segregating classrooms. You cannot segregate classrooms. You can’t do it.”

Ms Posey told WSBTV that she learned Black children were placed in two classes, while white kids were in six other classes.

She secretly taped a conversation with an assistant principal who allegedly confirmed the practice of segregation.

The unnamed administrator was heard saying: “I just wish we had more Black kids, and then some of them are in a class because of the services that they need.”

Ms Posey complained to the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

Atlanta Public Schools confirmed it had investigated the allegations and taken action against the school. It didn’t elaborate on what action it had taken.

“Atlanta public schools does not condone the assigning of students to classrooms based on race,” the school district said in a statement.

“The district conducted a review of the allegations. Appropriate actions were taken to address the issue and the matter was closed.”

Ms Posey said she was not satisfied with the school district’s response, and was awaiting the outcome of the Department of Education’s separate probe.

Mary Lin Elementary is one of the highest rated schools in Georgia, and ranks in the top five per cent in test scores for maths and reading proficiency.

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