What millenium is this again?

A high school southeast of Little Rock would not let a black student be valedictorian though she had the highest grade-point average, and wouldn’t let her mom speak to the school board about it until graduation had passed, the graduate claims in Federal Court.

Kymberly Wimberly, 18, got only a single B in her 4 years at McGehee Secondary School, and loaded up on Honors and Advanced Placement classes. She had the highest G.P.A. and says the school’s refusal to let her be sole valedictorian was part of a pattern of discrimination against black students.

Wimberly says that despite earning the highest G.P.A. of the Class of 2011, and being informed of it by a school counselor, “school administrators and personnel treated two other white students as heir[s] apparent to the valedictorian and salutatorian spots.”

Wimberly’s mother is the school’s “certified media specialist.” She says in the federal discrimination complaint that after her daughter had been told she would be valedictorian, the mother heard “in the copy room that same day, other school personnel expressed concern that Wimberly’s status as valedictorian might cause a ‘big mess.'”

McGehee Secondary School is predominantly white, and 46 percent African-American, according to the complaint. Bratton says that the day after she heard the “big mess” comment, McGehee Principal Darrell Thompson, a defendant, told her “that he decided to name a white student as co-valedictorian,” although the white student had a lower G.P.A.

Bratton says she tried to protest the decision to the school board, but defendant Superintendent Thomas Gathen would not let her speak, because she allegedly had “filled out the wrong form. Instead of ‘public comments,’ Gather [sic] said Bratton should have asked for ‘public participation.'” The superintendent told her she could not appeal his decision until the June 28 school board meeting; graduation was May 13.

3 thoughts on “Discrimination

  1. If every right-wingnut had to be black for just one week, this kind of thing would not happen. BTW, I am an elderly white Southerner, but with an ounce of imagination as to what this kind of discrimination does to people. After doing everything right, this poor girl just wasn’t allowed to receive the honor she had won.

  2. It’s shameful. I’d normally guess it’s just garden-variety racism, resentment, etc., but there may be more at work:

    Arkansas State University scholarships

    Valedictorian or Salutatorian Scholarship
    Valedictorian or Salutatorian from a high school accredited by the Arkansas Department of Education.
    Pays full tuition (up to 15 hours) for up to 4 semesters
    Credit hour and GPA requirements for renewal

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