Officials at a taxpayer-funded Arkansas high school decided it would be a good idea to segregate students by race for a student assembly on gang violence and drugs. The assembly was exclusively for black freshman students.
The segregated assembly occurred last week in the auditorium at Maumelle High School in a comfortable suburb of Little Rock, reports local ABC affiliate KATV.
The speaker at the assembly filled only with black kids was Pastor Dante Shelton, a local pastor who recounted his personal experiences and urged black students “to make good choices.”
A school official reportedly got on the public announcement system in the morning before the segregated assembly and told all the black freshmen students to report to the auditorium.
“Someone in the group asked, why are there no other kids except for African-American kids here?” Arron Perkins, whose freshman sister attended the segregated event, told KATV.
“What does that leave kids that are mixed? ‘Oh, you know, that’s my other side that’s calling, let me go learn about gang-banging,” Perkins, who is biracial, added. “To me, it’s just wrong on every level.”
Officials with the Pulaski County Special School District blamed a “court-ordered desegregation efforts” for the blatant segregation of black students.
“Black students were selected with the intent that the assembly would be an extension of the district’s court-ordered desegregation efforts, which encourage programs and opportunities tailored to minority students,” explained a statement from the district obtained by the Arkansas Times.
“Students who did not want to attend the program were not required to do so, and the response to Mr. Shelton’s presentation was overwhelmingly positive,” the statement also said. “The Pulaski County Special School District regrets that this inspirational program was not made available to all students and in the future will work to ensure that when outside speakers are brought into a school that all students are included.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas has entered the fray.
“Segregating students by race for a school assembly raises grave concerns for the equal protection rights of the students present,” ACLU of Arkansas legal director Holly Dickson wrote in a letter to Maumelle High principal Jeff Senn.
“This is 2016. All kids should understand and listen to what this reverend had to talk about which was probably all great information,” Perkins, the older brother who spoke to KATV, helpfully suggested.
Employees at America’s public schools are segregating black kids from everyone else at a surprisingly high rate these days.
In April 2015, for example, public school officials in South Bend, Ind. segregated black third graders at seven elementary schools from all the other kids and then ferried them on visits to local colleges. (RELATED: School District Excludes All White Students From Third-Grade Field Trips To Local Colleges)
In February 2015, the only black teacher at a California middle school decided to organize her own unsanctioned assembly only for black kids because of her concerns that students have been hurling racial epithets at school. (RELATED: Middle School Teacher Organizes Segregated, BLACKS-ONLY Assembly)