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Atlanta mom files complaint alleging daughter's grade school segregated Black students

"You can't treat one group of students based on race differently than other groups," said the attorney for the woman who filed the federal complaint.
/ Source: NBC News

A woman in Atlanta filed a federal complaint alleging civil rights violations at her daughter's elementary school because it segregated Black students from their classmates.

The woman, Kila Posey, 43, who is Black, said she learned last year that Principal Sharyn Briscoe of Mary Lin Elementary School was separating the school's 12 Black students in the second grade from their classmates.

The topic came up last spring, Posey said, when she was talking with Briscoe — who is also Black — about teachers who would be a good fit for her daughter. Posey said in an interview Wednesday that she asked Briscoe about placing her daughter with a certain teacher and that Briscoe told her "that's not a Black class."

The front of a beige three story elementary school with steps outside
Mary Lin Elementary School in Atlanta.Google Maps

"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."

The second recording occurred in March during an interview with a district administrator who also acknowledged that Briscoe "had indeed designated classes for black students," the complaint said.

In the complaint, Posey writes that she is a 17-year veteran educator who operates a business that provides after-school activities.

Posey's husband is a school psychologist at Mary Lin Elementary School. The couple have two children at the school.

A spokesman for the Education Department did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

Shields said it is unclear how "long-standing" or "widespread" Briscoe's practice has been. Shields and Posey said they were unsure whether the school has stopped segregating some students by race.

The strategy of designating certain classes for Black students needs to be stopped, and the "entire leadership team" should be removed, the complaint said.

Thinking back about her initial feelings when her daughter's principal told her about Black classes, Posey said it was "mind-blowing."

"That was the summer of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and all the names," she said. "We marched all around the world, and I'm having a conversation with somebody who looks exactly like me about Black classes. That was unbelievable."

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