Public school officials in South Bend, Ind. are segregating elementary schools students by race and ferrying black students — and only black students — on visits to local colleges.
The students facing racial segregation in America in the year 2015 are third graders at seven elementary schools, reports local ABC affiliate WBND.
School district officials say they do not intend for the taxpayer-funded reenactment of Jim Crow-era race segregation to be discriminatory. Instead, they say, the intent is to inform black students about college because low numbers of black students attend college.
“I want these third graders to have the opportunity to think of themselves as college students,” G. David Moss, director of African-American student and parent services, told WBND.
“We take them to a college campus, have them meet African-American students, modeling the idea that as a black person, college is a great place,” Moss explained.
“It was not meant to be exclusionary,” Moss said. “It was only meant to support and give these kids what they need to think positively about themselves and about their future.”
Opinion among parents in South Bend is split about their children being treated differently because of skin color.
Some parents don’t want their children to suffer racial discrimination.
“I feel like all kids should be going,” parent Deirdra Mullings told the ABC affiliate.
Mullings has a son who will go on one of the field trips.
“It creates a double standard,” agreed parent Kelley Garing. “I just think it breeds intolerance and creates misunderstandings.”
Other parents are not bothered.
“I don’t think it’s a race issue, I think they’re giving black children a chance,” parent Erika Herron told WBND.
“It’s letting them know that there’s something else out here besides being out here in these streets,” she added.
The first field trip to Ivy Tech Community College was scheduled for Thursday.
There is another field trip to Bethel College on Monday, April 20.
It is not clear if the third-grade students will be taking a trip to the University of Notre Dame.
Instances in taxpayer-funded public schools which involve purposeful segregation of black students — directed by adult employees — are becoming increasingly common.
In February, for example, the only black teacher at Benicia Middle School in Benicia, Calif. organized a special, unsanctioned, blacks-only assembly during school hours at which she screened a YouTube clip about the U.S. Civil Rights Movement and distributed a survey concerning racial issues. School officials found out only when black parents complained that their children had been segregated. (RELATED: Middle School Teacher Organizes Segregated, BLACKS-ONLY Assembly)
Also in February, Oak Park and River Forest High School in the suburbs of Chicago hosted a “Black Lives Matter” event exclusively for black students. The principal, Nathaniel Rouse, defended his decision to exclude white students by saying that school officials were not “trying to be exclusive” by excluding students based on skin color. (RELATED: High School Principal Excludes White Students From ‘Black Lives Matter’ Event)