Parent files complaint against Atlanta school for segregating children based on race

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This Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016 photo shows a sign marking the entrance to the colored area at the Montpelier Train Depot segregation exhibit in Orange, Va. Preservationists at President James Madison’s Montpelier estate, where the white-and-yellow depot is located, decided to keep the segregated waiting rooms when the structure was renovated in 2010. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

ATLANTA, Ga. (WTVO) — A parent at an elementary school in Atlanta filed a federal complaint after discovering it segregated students into classes based on race.

Kila Posey filed the complaint after she tried to move her child into a classroom at Mary Lin Elementary School taught by another teacher, but principal Sharyn Briscoe told her “that wouldn’t work.”

“She said that’s not one of the Black classes, and I immediately said, ‘What does that mean?’ I was confused. I asked for more clarification. I was like, ‘We have those in the school?’ And she proceeded to say, ‘Yes. I have decided that I’m going to place all of the Black students in two classes,’” Posey said to WSB-TV.

Posey said she discovered the school was placing Black students in two separate classes with separate teachers, and White kids in six classes with six different teachers.

“We’ve lost sleep like trying to figure out why would a person do this,” Posey said. “First, it was just disbelief that I was having this conversation in 2020 with a person that looks just like me — a Black woman. It’s segregating classrooms. You cannot segregate classrooms. You can’t do it.”

Posey said when she insisted her child be placed in a class with White students, Briscoe told her her child would be isolated.

“I explained to her she shouldn’t be isolated or punished because I’m unwilling to go along with your illegal and unethical practice,” Posey said.

Posey hired an attorney, Sharese Shields, who said the school’s practice violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 says that you cannot treat one group of people differently based upon race, and that is what is going on at Mary Lin,” Shields said.

The school issued a statement saying, “Atlanta public schools does not condone the assigning of students to classrooms based on race. The district conducted a review of the allegations. Appropriate actions were taken to address the issue and the matter was closed.”

Posey says she wants the school administrators removed.

“My community, had they known about this, would probably be extremely upset. Not just the Black parents but also white parents,” Posey said.

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