Kila Posey learned the school was segregating students based on race after she had requested a class change for her daughter.
A woman in Atlanta was shocked to find that her daughter was being assigned to a 'Black class' at her elementary school. Kila Posey learned that Black students were being segregated from their classmates in the second grade of Mary Lin Elementary School. Posey, 43, has filed a federal complaint alleging civil rights violations at the school for segregating Black students from the rest. There's a total of 12 Black students in the second grade at Mary Lin Elementary School. Posey, who's Black, learned about the practice from the Principal who inadvertently told her about "Black class," reported TODAY.
Posey was talking with Principal Sharyn Briscoe of Mary Lin Elementary School about her daughter last spring and requesting a class change for her daughter. She had asked which teacher would be a good fit for her daughter. When Posey asked about a certain teacher, Briscoe, who's also Black, responded, "that's not a Black class." Posey was left shocked by the response. "That was the summer of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and all the names," Posey told WSB-TV. "We marched all around the world, and I'm having a conversation with somebody who looks exactly like me about Black classes. That was unbelievable." Posey said she couldn't believe this was a conversation she needed to have, especially with a Black woman. “It’s segregating classrooms. You cannot segregate classrooms. You can’t do it.” Posey is also the vice president of the parent-teacher association.
"As a Black parent, what I'm hearing is my kid doesn't have the options of six teachers that may work with her learning style. ... I only get two [teachers]. How is that right? A white parent can get all six," said Posey. The allegation that Black students were being segregated was confirmed by a district administrator, who acknowledged that Briscoe "had indeed designated classes for black students," read the complaint. The call with the assistant principal about the policy had also been recorded. “We’ve lost sleep trying to figure out why would a person do this,” said Posey. She believes the segregation policy is a violation of federal law. “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,” said her attorney, Sharese Shields. In the complaint filed, Posey writes that she's a 17-year veteran educator, and her husband is a school psychologist at Mary Lin Elementary School. The couple has two children enrolled at the school.
Attorney Shields said it's unclear how "long-standing" or "widespread" Briscoe's practice at Mary Lin has been. Posey also added that it has not been clear if the school has stopped segregating students by race since. The school hasn't responded to the allegations. The Atlanta Public School District released a statement saying the matter was dealt with. “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,” read the statement, without clarifying if the Principal or other involved were punished. "The strategy of designating certain classes for Black students needs to be stopped, and the "entire leadership team" should be removed," read the complaint filed by Posey.
Posey is now waiting for the Department of Education to complete its investigation on the matter. Posey said her community was extremely upset to learn Mary Lin was practicing segregation. "Not just the Black parents but also white parents,” said Posey.