The Disguise of Segregation in Public Schools

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I am discussing segregation in public schools because we have talked about this topic numerous times throughout this semester. I also have read articles about this issue on my own spare time. I am embarrassed and completely disgusted by the way American school systems treat minorities. It truly hurts me to know that young children are still being segregated by the color of their skin. From my understanding, this subject is an ongoing issue that has no promise of stopping anytime soon. In this essay, I intend to give a historical summary of segregation in public schools, what it looks like, and sanctions that may put an end to segregation in public schools forever. Education has not always been an easy thing to obtain. Many people have struggled to gain access to schooling just because of their color of their skin or their culture. Segregation in schools started as early as 1866 when ex-slaves were banned going to school with White Americans. The prevention of ex-slaves into White schools was solemnly based on prejudice and domination. Whites wanted to stay dominant and they knew that if they allowed slaves to go to school, ex-slaves would become smarter and stronger. In an article, we read over this semester, James Anderson critically reinterprets the history of southern black education throughout his discussion. Anderson explains, “the slave regime was so brutal and dehumanizing that blacks were little more uncivilized victims who needed to be taught the values and rules of civil society.” (Anderson, 2007, p. 31).

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After everything Whites’ did to slaves during this time period, the least they could do was offer education. Instead, Whites’ treated ex-slaves like filth. Fast forward to the 20th Century where Civil Rights Movements was a vast deal. Almost 63 years ago today, the anniversary of the supreme court ruling in Brown VS the Topeka Schoolboard, which concluded that separate educational facilities are integrally unequal, and obligated states to provide for educational opportunity that is available to all on equal terms. “Brown v. Board of education reached the Supreme Court throughout the fearless efforts of lawyers, community activists, parents, and students.” (Graham, 2015, p. 236). Not only were African Americans unethically mistreated, but so where Mexican Immigrants. The Lemon Grove Incident was about Mexican Immigrants and their communities being treated unfairly by the school officials. So unfair that Principle of the Lemon Grove Grammar School, gave instructions that only White American students could enter the school. He declared that “Mexican Children did not belong at his school. They could not enter, and must attend their own school”. (The Lemon Grove Incident, 1986). During this time period, the principal could make the decisions for his or her school. Just like Brown VS the Topeka Schoolboard, the Lemon Grove Incident went to court and won. Although this was great news, it emotionally drained families of minorities and caused frustration.

In modern-day America, segregation in public schools still occurs more often than we think. When I learned about segregation still happening, I did not know how to wrap my head around this. I guess you could say I grew up very privileged and very blessed. I attended Buford City Schools my whole high school career. Buford is known for their sports and also the fact you can pay tuition to go here if you live out of city limits. However, believe it or not Buford is a Title One school where more than half of their students get free or reduced lunch. Why is that you may ask if people are literally paying to go here? The area around the school is poverty filled. Public housing is within feet away from the schools. I will say though, Buford is very respectful and clever. Everyone that attends Buford must wear dress code. Plain black, white, gray, gold, and green shirts are to be worn every day and the base of the shirt must cover your collar bone. You must also wear kaki, black, or gray pants every day with no holes or rips. To be honest, I hated this in high school. I hated that I had to dress so formal to school and I hated that I had to make sure my collar bone was covered at all times –like what? Yet, they did this for a reason and I truly did not understand this until now. Buford made you wear these things so that students did not feel ashamed and isolated due to the fact that some parents could not afford nicer clothes. Buford also did this academically. They did not categorize by race or culture but in fact as whole. Unlike some school systems in the United States we have talked about during this semester. Normandy, for example, is a perfect indication that segregation in public schools is indeed still a contraption.

The Normandy School District in Normandy, Missouri is a school district that is almost completely black, almost completely poor, and is failing badly academically. This school district had been on probation for 15 years because of how critically they were doing. In January 2013, Normandy lost its accreditation from the state. The school stayed open, though, students had the ability to transfer to a nearby school district for free. Any student from Normandy was now allowed to make that decision. Nedra Martin and her daughter Mah’Ria Pruitt- Martin decided along with the majority of Normandy to go to Francis Howell. Francis Howell was 85% white and wealthy. Parents of Francis Howell were extremely discourteous and racists when they found out that Normandy students were transferring. Mah’Ria Pruitt- Martin says it best, “Even though I am young. I know what it is like to be hated and disliked by people because of my skin. As a child in this environment, it made me grow up faster and face reality at an early age.” (The Problem We All Live With, 2015). Not only were the parents of Francis Howell uncouth but so were the teachers and staff. I do not quite understand how a teacher can treat a student differently because of the color of their skin. This is not the only school either. There are thousands.

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