Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mississippi School Ends Discriminatory Policy

Brandy Springer was shocked when she became aware of Nettleton Middle School's policies on class elections.  Her 12 year old daughter had been told that she didn't meet the qualifications to run for the office of class reporter because she was not Black. Upon further investigation, Mrs. Springer learned that the school had enacted a controversial policy in 1980 in an effort to encourage "racial diversity in class elections". Students were allowed to run for class offices according to  race. Accordingly, this year only white students were allowed to run for class president.  Black students could only run for some lesser office.
Since Brandy Springer's daughter was half native-American, she could not run for class reporter because she was not Black.

After reviewing the policy, the current administration decided that beginning immediately "student elections will no longer have a classification of ethnicity".

Nettleton is a town of about 2,000 people with a population that is about 66 percent white and 32 percent black.

Springer's plight demonstrates the complexities faced not only by interracial families, but by school officials trying to achieve racial equality in a state known for tensions between blacks and whites. The school district also manipulated prom and homecoming elections so that the outcome is an equal division of blacks and whites.

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