A woman in Atlanta filed a federal complaint alleging civil rights violations at her daughter’s elementary school because it segregated Black students from their classmates, reports NBC News.
The woman, Kila Posey, 43, who is Black, said she learned last year that Principal Sharyn Briscoe of Mary Lin Elementary School was separating the school’s 12 Black students in the second grade from their classmates.
The topic came up last spring, Posey said, when she was talking with Briscoe — who is also Black — about teachers who would be a good fit for her daughter. Posey said in an interview Wednesday that she asked Briscoe about placing her daughter with a certain teacher and that Briscoe told her “that’s not a Black class.”
“As a Black parent, what I’’m hearing is my kid doesn’t have the options of six teachers that may work with her learning style. … I only get two [teachers]. How is that right? A White parent can get all six.”
Posey said Briscoe told her that she separated Black students into the same classes to build a community. Posey said Black second-grade students had access to only two of six teachers.
Posey’s attorney, Sharese Shields, said the complaint was filed late last month with the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights. The crux of the complaint is that the principal and the school violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars discrimination, exclusion and benefits on the basis of race, color or national origin in programs that receive federal assistance.
“It’s a bit shocking that in 2021 that you would have a public school administrator engage in that practice, particularly given that administrator is a Black woman herself,” Shields said. “As an administrator, she should be well-versed in the law and know that you can’t treat one group of students based on race differently than other groups of students.”
Atlanta Public Schools said in a statement Wednesday that it “does not condone assigning students to classrooms based solely on race.”
“When we learned of allegations of this conduct occurring during virtual instruction at Mary Lin Elementary School in August 2020, the district conducted a review and took immediate and appropriate action at that time to resolve the issue,” the statement said. It is unclear what actions the school system took.