A Mississippi high school agreed to make 2 white students co-winners of top honors after their parents complained about the awarding of prizes to Black pupils
West Point High School students Ikeria Washington and Layla Temple, who are both Black, were named valedictorian and salutatorian of their class during a senior awards ceremony last week.
However, the announcement didn’t sit well with some families, and shortly after, the white parents of two students ended up raising complaints to the school that it did not properly calculate the criteria to determine the two designations.
After reviewing the student handbook, West Point’s school district’s Superintendent Burnell McDonald announced there had been a mistake and — breaking with longstanding tradition — named two other students (who are both white) as co-valedictorian and co-salutatorian.
McDonald, who is Black, told Mississippi Today that the counselor who had calculated the grades was new to the school and given incorrect information about how to determine the designations.
Washington and Temple had won based on the highest Quality Point Average (QPA) but not on Grade Point Average (GPA).
Washington’s family told the New York Times that the announcement caused their daughter to be “upset” and that they’re considering suing.
Even in the best of circumstances, race cannot be ignored. Even if there were no “progressive” regime indoctrinating children that white people are a stain upon Humanity, while black people are righteous victims, students and staff would still be well aware of racial differences. Aside from the obvious differences in appearance, academic and athletic differences are hard to ignore.
It’s worth noting that the Insider article capitalizes “Black” but not “white.” If students are taught to make the same distinction in their English courses, then it would only further accentuate racial tensions.
If the Mississippi school in question were all white, or all black, this wouldn’t even be news, let alone national news. Perhaps the local paper would have a blurb about it, and the headline would be:
A Mississippi high school agreed to make 2 students co-winners of top honors after their parents complained about the awarding of prizes to two other students
There would probably be no talk of lawsuits, and it would soon be forgotten as a simple misunderstanding. The article gives no indication that race played any role in the error.
As a matter of fact, if we read the source article, in Mississippi Today, we find this:
McDonald continued: “If someone assumes I was discriminatory in my decisions, they are absolutely wrong. I don’t know if you can tell on the phone, but I’m African-American myself… This is not based on who the parents are, the race of the kids — it’s based on doing what’s right for all students.”
Interesting that Insider, after using a racially charged headline, omitted the fact the superintendent who made the controversial (and correct) decision is black. It seems to me that it would be relevant.
Even though race did not play a role in the mix up, it’s certainly playing a role in the aftermath. From the Mississippi Today article:
A Facebook Live recording of the ceremony garnered almost 1,000 comments, many of which accused school officials, Berry, Borgioli and their families of cheating Layla and Ikeria out of their honors because of race…
“Because those two young ladies are African American and my son and the other person are white, it’s become a racial issue when it’s strictly a ‘the counselor did not use the correct policy and the school wouldn’t admit it’ issue,” said Borgioli, who said she and her family have been threatened on social media and by calls to her home.
It pains me whenever I read such stories. We’re kids only once, and high school should be a time of joy and discovery. It shouldn’t be fraught with racial politics – but in mixed-race schools, it’s inevitable.