Mary Lin Elementary school under federal probe after mom claims second-graders were segregated by race
ATLANTA, GEORGIA: A public elementary school in Atlanta is the subject of a federal investigation by the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education following claims that the principal was allegedly placing BLACK students in particular classes, reported News 19. Kila Posey, a mother and former employee at the Mary Lin Elementary school, filed a civil rights complaint with the American government in 2021. Thirteen BLACK second-graders at the school were allegedly only restricted to two classes, according to the Department of Education.
The school's assistant principal reportedly acknowledged in a taped phone conversation that she was aware of the class separation policies that the principal established in 2021, as per the complaint. Posey recalled learning about the allegations when she asked for her child to be placed in a teacher's class. According to Posey, the principal, Sharyn Briscoe, rejected her request, stating that the class she requested for her child wasn't a "Black class." Briscoe has served as the school's principal since 2015, according to the school's website.
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Posey said that she was fired from her position of being an after-school care provider for APS in August, which prompted her to lodge a second grievance complaint against the school system. The ex-employee claimed that she was fired for allegedly retaliating against the district by bringing up the subject of segregation with the initial complaint.
The investigation was launched against the school on November 14, according to the letter from the Department of Education, which said it was looking into the complaints against Atlanta Public Schools to see if the district used the classes as a form of "different treatment based on race," as per News 19.
APS said in a statement regarding the investigation, "Atlanta Public Schools has received notice from OCR that a complaint was filed, and the district is following OCR’s process. Given that this matter is pending before a federal administrative agency for consideration, APS has no further comment.” According to the website of the Office for Civil Rights, Atlanta Public Schools has allegedly been the subject of seven racial discrimination investigations.
According to the complaint filed by Kila Posey's lawyer, Sharese Shields, the mother of two BLACK students at Atlanta's Mary Lin Elementary School claimed that some classes "had been formulated, in part, based upon race of the students" during the 2020–21 school year. According to Posey, the principal assigned two teachers' classes as the "Black Classes," and about 13 BLACK students were designated to only those two second-grade classes, reported CNN.
“To our knowledge, (the principal) designated these black classes without the knowledge or consent of the families of the affected black students. Instead, she unilaterally decided what was in the best interests of the black students, relegating them to only those classes she deemed appropriate,” Posey wrote in the complaint dated July 22. “Meanwhile, the placement of white students was not restricted; they were able to be placed in any of the six second grade classes,” she said.
This would reportedly be the seventh investigation related to racial discrimination opened against Atlanta Public Schools, as The Office for Civil Rights website.