Parent files complaint against Atlanta elementary school, alleges it’s segregating classes

ATLANTA — A parent has filed a federal complaint against her child’s school, alleging it segregated classes based on race.

She said it was a practice put in place by the school’s principal, who thought she was doing what was best for all students.

Atlanta Public Schools confirmed to Channel 2′s Tom Jones that it has wrapped up its investigation into the allegations and has taken action.

Parent Kila Posey still can’t believe a principal thought separating students by race was a good idea.

“We’ve lost sleep like trying to figure out why would a person do this,” Posey said.

She told Jones she was stunned when she learned about classes segregated by race at Mary Lin Elementary School last year.

A practice put in place and condoned by principal Sharyn Briscoe, according to Posey.

“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 said. “It’s segregating classrooms. You cannot segregate classrooms. You can’t do it.”

Posey said she found out the school was putting Black students in two separate classes with two separate teachers.

The white kids were placed in six classes with six different teachers.

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The parent said she found this out when she let Briscoe know she wanted her child placed in the classroom of a teacher she thought would be a good fit.

Posey said the principal told her that wouldn’t work.

“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. I was like, ‘We have those in the school?’ And she proceeded to say, ‘Yes. I have decided that I’m going to place all of the Black students in two classes,’” Posey said.

Posey said she insisted her child be placed in a class with white students. She said Briscoe explained 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 said.

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.

Kila Posey has filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

Her attorney Sharese Shields said what’s going on at Mary Lin is a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 says that you cannot treat one group of people differently based upon race, and that is what is going on at Mary Lin,” Shields said.

Jones contacted Atlanta Public Schools about Posey’s allegations. The school district sent him a statement:

“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.”

The district did not say what actions it took.

Posey isn’t satisfied. She told Jones that she wants the principal and her administration removed for even allowing a system of segregated classes at the school.

“My community, had they known about this, would probably be extremely upset. Not just the Black parents but also white parents,” Posey said.

The Poseys are currently waiting for the Department of Education to wrap up its investigation.

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