Dec 5, 2022 - News

Feds investigating APS for allegedly separating Black students

Illustration of a gavel on a book instead of a block.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Atlanta Public Schools is under federal investigation for allegedly assigning Black students to classrooms based on their race.

What's happening: According to a letter sent Nov. 14 to APS and shared with Axios, the complainant alleges that during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, a principal assigned Black children to second and third-grade classes by race.

  • The AJC reports that a parent, who is Black, made the complaint against Mary Lin Elementary School in Candler Park.
  • The complaint alleges that about 13 Black students were put into two classes, while white students were placed in any of the six second-grade classes, according to the AJC.
  • The school’s administrator allegedly admitted to the parent that the principal, Sharyn Briscoe, separated the students so they would not be the only Black children in their class.

Yes, and: The parent told CNN.com she filed another complaint after the district removed her from her role as an after-school care provider, which she suspects was done in retaliation for her original allegations.

What they're saying: Atlanta Public Schools told Axios in a statement that it is following the federal complaint process.

  • "Given that this matter is pending before a federal administrative agency for consideration, APS has no further comment," the district said.

Yes, and: APS superintendent Lisa Herring said Friday in a letter to Mary Lin parents that the district supports Briscoe, who “has maintained a culture of inclusion and academic excellence” throughout her tenure.

  • She also told parents that the district is cooperating with the investigation.

Of note: Mary Lin Elementary School is a predominantly white school located in Atlanta's Candler Park neighborhood, Georgia Department of Education data shows.

  • Out of the school’s 628 students, 469 were white, 60 were Black, 17 Asian, 34 Hispanic, 47 were of two or more races and one was Native American.
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