Upon hearing her daughter’s school would be separating students based solely on their race, an Atlanta mother filed a discrimination complaint to the Office of Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Education.
Kila Posey (43) is the mother of two children who attend Mary-Lin Elementary School, a K-5 school in Atlanta, Georgia (NBC). Her husband works as a school psychologist there as well. Last year, she had a discussion with the school’s principal, Sharyn Briscoe, about which teacher would be best for her daughter. She requested a specific teacher, citing that she thought they would be a good fit for her child. Briscoe responded that it wouldn’t work because it wasn’t one of the “Black classrooms.” She went on to reveal that the school’s 12 Black students would be separated within two of the six classes “to build community.”
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Posey shared that “As a Black parent, what I’m hearing is my kid doesn’t have the options of six teachers that may work with her learning style. … I only get two [teachers]. How is that right? A white parent can get all six.” Posey believes that people in her community- Black or White- would be upset if they knew about the practice.
Posey also called an assistant principal to voice her concerns and recorded the call. The administrator said that the practice was Briscoe’s doing and that they, “wish[ed] we had more Black kids, and then some of them are in a class because of the services that they need.” Despite all this, Posey pushed for her daughter to be in one of the non-segregated classrooms so she wouldn’t be isolated, also calling Briscoe’s practice unethical and illegal.
She added, “[…] it was just disbelief that I was having this conversation in 2020 with a person that looks just like me — a Black woman. It’s segregating classrooms. You cannot segregate classrooms.” Posey hopes that the principal and her administration will be removed for their segregation practices.
Posey has hired an attorney to assist her in the legal battle. The attorney, Sharese Shields, claimed the actions of Briscoe violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, saying, “Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 says that you cannot treat one group of people differently based upon race, and that is what is going on at Mary Lin.”
WSB-TV Atlanta conducted an investigation, as did the school district- allegedly. The school district told WSB-TV that “Atlanta Public School [System] does not condone the assigning of students to classrooms based on race. The district conducted a review of the allegations. Appropriate actions were taken to address the issue and the matter was closed,” but failed to explain what these actions were. The Poseys are waiting on the Department of Education to finish its investigation and issue a verdict.