There are few things that will strike fear into the heart of administrators and teachers quite like a determined mother at a local school. Kila Posey, the mother of two Black children at Mary Lin Elementary School in Atlanta, has filed a civil rights complaint with the US Department of Education regarding her children's school. During the 2020-2021 academic year, She claims that classes at the school "had been formulated, in part, based upon race of the student." As the civil rights complaint explains, the school's principal labeled two second grade classes as the "Black classes" and moved the majority of the second grade's Black population into those two classes.
"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 explained.
"Meanwhile, the placement of white students was not restricted; they were able to be placed in any of the six second grade classes."
The school's website currently lists two Black women, Sharyn Briscoe and Mary Benton, as the principal and vice-principal, respectively. Within the complaint, Posey and her attorney, Sharese Shields, claim that the vice-principal admitted that she was aware of the racial division between classes and added that "class lists are always tough." Moreover, the complaint alleges that the vice-principal wishes there were more Black students in the school.
Analysis by CNN shows that there are more than 500 students attending Mary Lin Elementary School, but only five dozen are Black. At the second grade level, there are approximately 100 students, but only 12 are Black.
Moving forward, Posey isn't looking for responses such as "class lists are always tough" and hopes that the school's population will diversify. She is looking for a tangible change within the school her children attend.
"I would like APS (Atlanta Public Schools) to remove the entire leadership team at Mary Lin," Posey stated.
"The Administrators there have demonstrated poor professional judgment by instituting this discriminatory practice and subsequently engaging in retaliatory acts. As such, they should not be trusted to make educational decisions for my child or any other children."