Was Student Denied Valedictorian Title For Being Black?

Lawsuit Filed Against District For Discrimination

A straight-A student who took a challenging course load full of Advanced Placement classes was denied the title of class valedictorian, even though she earned the highest grade-point-average in her class.

18-year-old Kymberly Wimberly attended McGehee Secondary School southeast of Little Rock, Ark and is now suing the school district for discrimination.

Molly Bratton, Wimberly’s mother heard school personnel saying that naming her daughter valedictorian might cause a “big mess.”

McGehee Secondary School is predominantly white, and 46 percent African-American, according to the complaint. [Wimberly’s mother] Bratton says that the day after she heard the “big mess” comment, McGehee Principal Darrell Thompson, a defendant, told her “that he decided to name a white student as co-valedictorian,” although the white student had a lower G.P.A.

Bratton says she tried to protest the decision to the school board, but defendant Superintendent Thomas Gathen would not let her speak, because she allegedly had “filled out the wrong form. Instead of ‘public comments,’ Gather [sic] said Bratton should have asked for ‘public participation.'” The superintendent told her she could not appeal his decision until the June 28 school board meeting; graduation was May 13.

Wimberly seeks punitive damages for violation of equal protection rights secured by the 14th amendment of the U.S. constitution.

You can read the lawsuit here

Wimberly is also a teen mother who took off three weeks for maternity leave, but still managed to earn the top rank at her school.

I want to hear from you readers.

Was the school being racist in this situation? Should they have given her the solo valedictorian title? Sound off.

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  • Edgar White

    WOW!!! To be totally honest, I can’t really say that I am all that surprised. The school probably thought that the young lady parental status would taint the the Valedictorian award. I think quite the opposite. She busted her but to keep her grades the highest in the school even while she was out on maternity leave. She is going places despite the schools decision.

    • http://www.askdro.com AskDrO

      Agreed brother!

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About Dwight A. Owens, M.D.

As a practicing physician, Dr. Dwight A. Owens, has a respected voice in psychiatry that truly makes an impression. He keeps readers enthralled by refusing to shy away from controversial topics and pulling no punches. He also adds spice to the blog by commenting on the state of relationships at every stage, from the first encounter to the daily struggles in even the most satisfying marriages.

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