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Valedictorian says school changed GPA to allow white student top honors

04 Juillet 2017

Filed Tuesday, the complaint reveals that Cleveland High School has never had a Black valedictorian in its 110-year history, and Jasmine Shepard was the first to break this cycle.

A black MS high school graduate sued her school district this week after being forced to share valedictorian status with a white student who allegedly had a lower GPA.

Jasmine Shepard shared valedictorian honors with a white student at Cleveland High School in Cleveland, Mississippi at the graduation ceremony in May 2016, said the suit, according to the Washington Post.

"Prior to 2016, all of Cleveland High School's valedictorians were white", the suit says.

"Prior to 2016, all of Cleveland High School's valedictorians were white", part of the suit reads.

The school is claiming the GPAs were identical.

"As such, under school board policy, they were both named valedictorian of their graduating class", Jacks told the Post.

"The delay in desegregation has deprived generations of students of the constitutionally-guaranteed right of an integrated education", U.S. District Court Judge Debra M. Brown wrote past year.

Adding an interesting wrinkle to the matter, a federal judged ruled recently that the Cleveland School District neglected to follow the law of the land and didn't desegregate its schools until 50 years after it was mandated to do so.

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In response to the controversy, the mother and daughter launched the "Justice for Jasmine" campaign and a Facebook page, where they detail their struggle against the school. "When the district wants something, they just take it".

The school district initially fought the judge's order but later complied with the order.

'A child, when they earn honors, they are entitled to receive them, ' she said.

Shepard was also forced to deliver her speech to students after the white student and would have been forced to walk behind the girl as well if Jasmine hadn't protested.

According to the infuriated mother, the school district (as well as the city itself) is rife with racial tensions.

"The delay in desegregation has deprived generations of students of the constitutionally-guaranteed right of an integrated education", the judge said.

The student is angry with her school administration but does not want to see condemnation against the white student, whom she said is "the kindest-hearted, sweetest person".

The suit asks for unspecified monetary damages and for Jasmine to be renamed "sole valedictorian".

Valedictorian says school changed GPA to allow white student top honors