‘She Stepped Way Out of Line’: The Way a Principal Divided Up Students Has Ignited a Racial Controversy

A South Carolina principal is under fire for separating students by both race and gender to give the students a “pep talk” before state testing.

Chesterfield-Ruby Middle School. (Image source: Screen grab via)
Chesterfield-Ruby Middle School. (Image source: Screen grab via WSOC-TV)

Chesterfield-Ruby Middle School principal Andrea Hampton isolated a group of African-American students, a boy group and a girl group when she addressed students before the standardized test.

“It was just a big mess,” parent Darry Lindsey told WSOC-TV. “My kids came home really upset about it.”

[sharequote align=”center”]“My kids came home really upset about it.”[/sharequote]

“I think that is very wrong,” echoed another parent.

At least one parent called for the resignation of Hampton, prompting the school district to release a statement about the controversy.

“Chesterfield-Ruby Middle School Principal Dr. Andrea Hampton held several meetings with students on May 1 in preparation for the upcoming statewide Palmetto Assessment of State Standards testing,” the statement read, according to WSOC.

“These meetings consisted of federally identified subgroups of students among whom previous testing had shown achievement gaps on parts of PASS,” it continued. “The purpose of the meetings was to discuss previous test results among the subgroups, to set goals for the upcoming standardized test, and to deliver a ‘pep talk’ to encourage students to do their best on the assessment.”

In addition to the statement, the school sent out a letter to parents — authored by Hampton — and utilized the school’s mass phone messaging system to “clarify any misunderstanding about the meetings’ purpose.”

That, however, hasn’t quelled the concerns of some parents.

“She stepped way out of line, the way she handled things,” a parent told WSOC.

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