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'That's not the black class': Atlanta mom fights Jim Crow 2.0 at daughter's school

Kila and Jason Posey charge they were subjected to retaliation from public school administrators for resisting racially segregated classrooms.

Updated: August 26, 2021 - 10:32pm

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When a principal at an Atlanta public elementary school segregated students in classes based on their race, some parents supported it, says Kila Posey, mother of a student at the school.

Sharyn Briscoe, the principal of Mary Lin Elementary, who is black, segregated second-grade classes based on race in the 2020-2021 academic year, limiting black students to two classrooms to choose from while white students could choose between six different classrooms.

Posey, whose husband Jason works at the school as a psychologist, tried to place their daughter with a preferred second-grade teacher. Briscoe said, "That's not the black class," Posey recalled.

"I told her immediately, I said, 'That's against the law, like you can't do that,'" Posey told the John Solomon Reports podcast in an episode that aired Wednesday. "And she said, 'No, that's what I'm doing. These are the black classes.'"

The assistant principal, who is also black, was aware of the segregated classrooms, Posey said.

Posey explained that she and Jason went to the central district office for Atlanta Public Schools about the issue, which then confirmed that Briscoe was segregating the students. Afterwards, Briscoe allegedly tried to have Jason transferred to another school or evicted from office and to cancel Kila's after-school program.

Some parents at the school support Briscoe segregating classrooms, Posey recalled.

"It's scary," she said, "that you have a group of parents that's willing to say, 'Well, we support her, even though she was breaking the law.' It really sets up the community for a bad trajectory."

Posey said that her daughter was being placed in an early intervention program when she shouldn't have been. "We also had issues with them misidentifying our daughter for the early intervention program, which is directly tied to [school] funding," she recounted. "She was working above grade level at the time, this is a program for students that's working below grade level. When we questioned them about it, they refused to give us ... her educational records.

"We asked them multiple times — the assistant principal, she flat-out refused. I only got the documents after I went to the district office. Once I received the documents, they confirm that my daughter should not have been flagged for this program."

The Poseys filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) over the principal's actions, including submitting recordings of their conversations with the administrators.

Posey said that she is working with her lawyer to set up something for other parents who face issues similar to those she encountered at her daughter's school.

"My attorney and I are working on some things to provide and set up so that if there are parents out there that need that support ... I can provide some guidance for them as best as possible."