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courthousenews: Black Student Can't Be Valedictorian


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http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/07/25/38410.htm

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AR) - A high school southeast of Little Rock would not let a black student be valedictorian though she had the highest grade-point average, and wouldn't let her mom speak to the school board about it until graduation had passed, the graduate claims in Federal Court.

Kymberly Wimberly, 18, got only a single B in her 4 years at McGehee Secondary School, and loaded up on Honors and Advanced Placement classes. She had the highest G.P.A. and says the school's refusal to let her be sole valedictorian was part of a pattern of discrimination against black students.

Wimberly says that despite earning the highest G.P.A. of the Class of 2011, and being informed of it by a school counselor, "school administrators and personnel treated two other white students as heir apparent to the valedictorian and salutatorian spots."

Wimberly's mother is the school's "certified media specialist." She says in the federal discrimination complaint that after her daughter had been told she would be valedictorian, the mother heard "in the copy room that same day, other school personnel expressed concern that Wimberly's status as valedictorian might cause a 'big mess.'"

McGehee Secondary School is predominantly white, and 46 percent African-American, according to the complaint. Bratton says that the day after she heard the "big mess" comment, McGehee Principal Darrell Thompson, a defendant, told her "that he decided to name a white student as co-valedictorian," although the white student had a lower G.P.A.

Bratton says she tried to protest the decision to the school board, but defendant Superintendent Thomas Gathen would not let her speak, because she allegedly had "filled out the wrong form. Instead of 'public comments,' Gather [sic] said Bratton should have asked for 'public participation.'" The superintendent told her she could not appeal his decision until the June 28 school board meeting; graduation was May 13.

(The superintendent's name is spelled Gathen in the heading of the complaint, but is spelled Gather throughout the body of it.)

The last African-American valedictorian in McGehee School District was in 1989. Wimberly says the school discourages black students from taking honors and advanced placement classes, "by telling them, among other things, that the work was too hard."

"Because of defendants' continuous disparate treatment of African-American students, defendants' actions toward the plaintiff can properly be classed as intentional," the complaint states.

"Defendants did not support African-American students, and did not want to see Wimberly, an African-American young mother as valedictorian.

"But for Wimberly's race, defendants would not have selected a student with a lower G.P.A. than Wimberly to also be a valedictorian."

She seeks punitive damages for constitutional violations, and an injunction declaring her sole valedictorian of the school's Class of 2011. She is represented by John Walker of Little Rock.

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"Defendants did not support African-American students, and did not want to see Wimberly, an African-American young mother as valedictorian."

She was an african-american teenage mother? lol...If any of the complaint is true, I'm thinking it might be the teenage mom aspect that freaked them out, not that she's black :ols:...

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I'd like to see a statement by the school. This article has nothing but quotes by the plantiff.

Exactly. On the surface, this sounds atrocious. But then, when you only get half the story, that's usually the case.

Kymberly Wimberly?

is this a Dr. Seuss story?

~Bang

I thought the same thing. :ols:

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Exactly. On the surface, this sounds atrocious. But then, when you only get half the story, that's usually the case.

I do like the sneakiness of making it look fair and balanced by having quotes of the plantiff quoting the school. Tricky little ****s.

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Exactly. On the surface, this sounds atrocious. But then, when you only get half the story, that's usually the case.

I thought the same thing. :ols:

HH, when were you granted Capital letters for your handle - when you reached 8000 posts ???

Congrats on the Caps, dude !! :cheers:

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While it would seem that the full story may not be here, what difference does it make if the reason they kept her from being sole valedictorian was because she's a teen mother or black? Doesn't really seem to make it much better, in my mind.

Why not get the other side of the story and find out?

*raises gloves for the first time in a while* :ols:

---------- Post added July-25th-2011 at 10:02 PM ----------

How do they pick a valedictorian now with the advanced classes? When I was in school highest GPA got it. Do schools factor in degree of difficulty now? Or is it still just plain highest GPA??

Honors classes are weighted. You can actually have a GPA over 4.00 now. I don't fully understand it either.

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While it would seem that the full story may not be here, what difference does it make if the reason they kept her from being sole valedictorian was because she's a teen mother or black? Doesn't really seem to make it much better, in my mind.

That's just it...it's damn near impossible to know or tell if she WAS kept from being valedictorian because she was black from this article without hearing the other side.

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Why not get the other side of the story and find out?

*raises gloves for the first time in a while* :ols:

Hahaha, more like a lover's quarrel at this point.

That's just it...it's damn near impossible to know or tell if she WAS kept from being valedictorian because she was black from this article without hearing the other side.

I understand getting the full point of view, and agree. It just seemed that the suggestion was it's acceptable that she was denied the privilege of being valedictorian since she's a teenage mother.

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Woman Denied Sole Valedictorian Status Because of Race, Lawsuit Says

A black Arkansas teen who graduated top of her class is suing her high school for racial discrimination after the principal decided to name a white student with a lower GPA as co-valedictorian.

Kymberly Wimberly, 18, told ABC News she always dreamed about being at the top of her class at McGehee High School.

"When I found out I was valedictorian, I was ecstatic," she said.

That soon changed when Wimberly's mother, Molly Bratton, who works at the school as a media specialist, overheard school officials saying they wanted to avoid the "big mess" that would happen with Wimberly as valedictorian, the teen said.

The lawsuit alleges there was a "pattern and practice of school administrators and personnel treating the African-American students less favorably than the Caucasian ones."

A white student with a lower GPA was named co-valedictorian.

Click on the link for the full article

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Getting a single "B" in today's dumbass curriculum should instantly disqualify any student from valedictorian honors. Especially in Arkansas. Senior math is times tables.

As an Arkansas High School graduate, I can say in all sincerity, this is almost true... I went from being top 20% in my class in NC to top 10% when I moved to Arkansas

Unless this story was written in 1950, there's no way its totally true.

Oh, racism's totally alive in Arkansas, but I find it hard to believe it's alive in Pine Bluff

A majority of white students with 46 percent African-American.

Whats left, that 2 asian, 3 hispanic and 1 eskimo?

It doesn't appear like the black students are really in the 'minority' numbers wise.

I went to a HS with a black person for about a month... He moved there, and was so outcast by others, he transferred schools... It was pretty bad there...

Yeah I would think so, but being it's Arkansas there is always hope ;)

Is that a play on Clinton's birthplace?

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Kymberly Wimberly?

is this a Dr. Seuss story?

~Bang

Her attorneys name is John Walker.

“There's a history of oppression where people don't speak up for themselves,” her attorney, John Walker, told ABC. “White students are elevated ahead of black students in order to allow that position to be maintained by white students.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/kymberly-wimberly-black-valedictorian-claims-school-demoted-her-over-race/2011/07/27/gIQAv5tkeI_blog.html

It also appears the other girl took more credits and had a slightly lower GPA. With that being the case I think Kim should have just been happy to have the honor and been happy for her classmate. It is 100% legit? Maybe and maybe not but there is no cash prize for winning the honor and this fight is ruining the moment for both of them.

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