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Black principal allegedly segregated Atlanta elementary students according to race — and black parent files federal complaint against school
Sharyn Briscoe, principal of Mary Lin Elementary School in Atlanta (Image source: Atlanta Public Schools website)

Black principal allegedly segregated Atlanta elementary students according to race — and black parent files federal complaint against school

Kila Posey told WSB-TV she met last year with the principal of Mary Lin Elementary School in Atlanta simply because she wanted her child with a teacher she thought would be a good fit.

But Posey revealed stunning news she said she received from Principal Sharyn Briscoe, the station noted.

'That's not one of the black classes'

"She said that's not one of the black classes, and I immediately said, 'What does that mean?' I was confused. I asked for more clarification," Posey told WSB. "I was like, 'We have those in the school?' And she proceeded to say that, 'Yes. I have decided that I'm going to place all of the black students in two classes.'"

That's right. Segregated classrooms according to race. Black students in two classrooms with two teachers, and white students in six classrooms with six teachers, the station said.

Posey — who is vice president of the parent teacher association, Black Enterprise reported — was stunned, the station said.

"First, it was just disbelief that I was having this conversation in 2020 with a person that looks just like me — a black woman," Posey told WSB. "It's segregating classrooms. You cannot segregate classrooms. ... You can't do it."

She added to the station that "we've lost sleep ... trying to figure out why would a person do this."

Posey told WSB she insisted to Briscoe that her child be placed in a class with white students — and said Briscoe told her that her child would be isolated.

"I explained to her she shouldn't be isolated or punished because I'm unwilling to go along with your illegal and unethical practice," Posey added to the station.

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The Poseys recorded a call with an assistant principal where they complained about the segregated classes. The administrator confirmed it was the principal's decision and seemed to offer an explanation for why the classes were set up this way.

"I just wish we had more black kids, and then some of them are in a class because of the services that they need," the administrator said on the recording, according to the station.

Federal complaint filed

In the end, Posey filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, WSB reported.

Posey's attorney Sharese Shields told the station that the segregated classrooms at the elementary school are a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Shields noted to WSB that the law states that "you cannot treat one group of people differently based upon race, and that is what is going on at Mary Lin."

What did the school district have to say?

Atlanta Public Schools offered a statement to the station in regard to Posey's allegations, which stated, "Atlanta public schools 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."

WSB said the district did not indicate the nature of the actions it said it took.

But Posey isn't done, telling the station she wants the principal and her administration removed for allowing segregated classes.

"My community, had they known about this, would probably be extremely upset," Posey told WSB. "Not just the black parents but also white parents."

The station said the Poseys are waiting for the U.S. Department of Education to conclude its investigation.

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