Segregation is happening right in our neighborhood at Richard Green Central Park School. This school is under scrutiny due to the segregation of African American and Latino students. Students are separated and placed into classrooms based upon their last names in order to determine if a student will be placed in a Spanish- or English-speaking class.
Many parents, community members, educators, and students have voiced their concerns about the maltreatment of students, lack of concern for underrepresented populations and the segregation, which has created a hostile school environment. The Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson has been contacted numerous times about this matter, but she fails to respond and is not concerned with ensuring that the Minneapolis Public Schools are adhering to school laws.
Ms. Johnson, her staff and the Minneapolis Public School system all need a refresher course in Brown vs. Board of Education doctrine; which focuses on equal opportunities for all students despite their race or dialect. The segregated school environment signifies how history can repeat itself.
Segregation prompted the creation of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) in the 1930’s and LDEF (Legal Defense Education Fund) in the 1950’s in an effort to desegregate. It is not ethical, legal or right for students to be segregated and unable to receive the same equal, educational opportunities. The rights of our students need to be enforced to ensure they are protected and treated equally.
Overall, the Equal Protection Clause (14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution) protects the rights of students from being subjected to discrimination and racism, which contributes to segregation. It is extremely important for everyone to work as a collective and be knowledgeable of the legal aspects as well as civil rights plight that have established the foundation education is built on.
In the words of Judge Thurgood Marshall, leading NAACP lawyer and judge, “We are going to insist on non-segregation in American public education from top to bottom — from law school to kindergarten.”
Ashley Lauren lives in Minneapolis