Saturday, August 28, 2010

Is it Really the 21st Century?

Gotham Schools pointed me to an interesting item that's been making waves today: the race-based election standards at Mississippi's Nettleton Middle School.  The school designates which student council members must be Black and which must be White.

Perhaps even more egregious is the high school's policies on homecoming/prom king and queen -- they have one Black and one White for each position (and one has to be a "single, unmarried female"  to be eligible for the queen or maid position).

As best I can tell, the middle school is 74% white/26%black and the high school is 64% white/36% black -- but there may be more official statistics somewhere.  The three administrators of the middle school are two Black females and the high school's head football coach (a White male), while the high school is run by three White males.

The school district quickly ended the elections policy, but made no mention of the homecoming/prom courts.  Meanwhile, links to the school handbook and event photos are now nowhere to be found on the district webpage. The statement references a 40 year-old court case that apparently required stronger desegregation efforts in the district.

To me, this is one of those things that sets your head spinning.  Apparently this is normal enough to the thousands of students and parents that have been part of these policies over the past few decades that it didn't come to light until now, but I have to believe that for most of the country the policies are, on face, simply outrageous and outdated.  The sad part is that I'm sure Nettleton isn't the only place that still has these types of rules.

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