So, apparently, in this, our SO CALLED post racial America, if you are Black, you can be president of the United States, but for the students of at least one middle school in Mississippi, until today, you could not be president of your class.
Yes, it is sad but true. Nettleton Middle School in Nettleton, Mississippi recently released its guidelines for students running for office. And one of the “qualifications” for the office of class president was whiteness.
The highest office a Black student could hold at Nettleton Middle School was vice president of the 8th grade. Out of twelve available offices, 8 were reserved for whites, while 4 were set aside for Black students. Apparently, the school believed that for children, “good moral character” (another requirement for holding office) included accepting segregation.
In the same tradition, the guidelines for the school’s homecoming court does not allow for the election of four INDIVIDUALS, but rather for two COUPLES – one Black and one white. Apparently, they want to avoid the appearance of supporting miscegenation if students of opposite races were to be chosen as King and Queen. And, these rules are in place DESPITE the fact that the school principal is an African American woman!
I guess that goes to show that those “at the top” are often just a figurehead for those who REALLY hold the power!
The policy of segregated elections has apparently been in place for 30 YEARS, and was ONLY CHANGED TODAY after an “emergency meeting” of the school board. The impetus for the meeting? A parent, Brandy Springer, alerted the media to this discriminatory policy. Of course, the school superintendent Russell Taylor had a ready excuse on hand (we all could have predicted this one).
“It is the belief of the current administration that these procedures were implemented to help ensure minority representation and involvement in the student body,”
“Therefore, beginning immediately, student elections at Nettleton School District will no longer have a classification of ethnicity. It is our intent that each student has equal opportunity to seek election for any student office.” Source
So, in order to ensure “minority representation” you relegate Black students to only lower offices? And expect nobody to see it for what it really is – blatant racism? And it took 30 years and a media savvy parent for you to “see the light” and change the policy??? Bravo, Superintendent Russell. Bravo, Nettleton School District. (rolling my eyes)
Mississippi has been extremely reluctant, even in recent years to move past its history of segregation. It was only last year that, partially through the efforts of Morgan Freeman, Charleston HS in Mississippi integrated its prom. And while the students seemed to enjoy the new, inclusive prom, a group of white parents decided to sponsor their own, private prom in protest.
And this year, a federal court had to intervene to keep a school from creating segregated classrooms within its walls, and allowing white students to transfer to the districts remaining majority white school. But, this is a POST RACIAL America.
Brandy Springer, the mother who originally alerted the media to this travesty, withdrew her children from the school, and claimed that even if the election policy is changed, the attitude would remain, and she does not want that kind of influence on her kids. I hope she sticks to her guns and does not send her child back into that toxic environment!