ATLANTA – A parent has filed a federal lawsuit against their child’s school, alleging it separated classes based on race.
She said it was a practice put in place by the school principal, who believed she was doing what was best for all the students.
Atlanta Public Schools Confirmed Tom Jones of Channel 2 that he has completed his investigation of the allegations and taken action.
Parent Kila Posey still can’t believe that a main idea separating students by race was a good idea.
“We lost sleep like trying to figure out why a person would do this,” Posey said.
She told Jones she was stunned when she learned of the existence of race-separated classes at Mary Lin Elementary School last year.
A practice put in place and tolerated by director Sharyn Briscoe, according to Posey.
“First of all, it was just disbelief to have this conversation in 2020 with someone who looks like me – a black woman,” Posey said. “It’s the segregation of classes. You cannot separate classes. You can not do that.
Posey said she discovered the school put black students in two separate classes with two separate teachers.
The white children were placed in six classes with six different teachers.
The parent said she found out when she let Briscoe know that she wanted her child placed in the classroom of a teacher who she said would be suitable for her.
Posey said the principal told him it wouldn’t work.
“She said it wasn’t one of the Black classes, and I immediately said, ‘What does that mean?’ I was confused. I asked for more details. I was like, ‘We have them at school?’ And she started to say, ‘Yes. I have decided that I will put all the black students in two classes, ”Posey said.
Posey said she insisted that her child be placed in a class with white students. She said Briscoe explained that her child would be isolated.
“I explained to her that she should not be isolated or punished because I am unwilling to accept your illegal and unethical practice,” Posey said.
The Poseys recorded a call with an assistant principal complaining about the separate classes. The administrator confirmed that this was the principal’s decision and appeared to offer an explanation of why the classes were organized this way.
“I just wish we had more black kids, and then some of them are in a class because of the services they need,” the administrator said on the recording.
Kila Posey filed a discrimination complaint with the Office of Civil Rights at the US Department of Education.
Her attorney Sharese Shields said what was going on at Mary Lin’s home was a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 says you can’t treat a group of people differently based on race, and that’s what happens with Mary Lin,” Shields said.
Jones has contacted Atlanta Public Schools regarding Posey’s allegations. The school district sent him a statement:
“Atlanta public schools do not tolerate the assignment of students to classrooms based on their race. The district has conducted a review of the allegations. Appropriate steps were taken to resolve the issue and the case was closed.
The district did not say what action it had taken.
Posey is not satisfied. She told Jones that she wanted the principal and his administration removed for even allowing a separate class system at the school.
“My community, if they had known this, would probably be extremely upset. Not just black parents but also white parents, ”Posey said.
The Poseys are currently waiting for the Department of Education to complete their investigation.
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