Model black student, 9, denied charter school attendance because of decades-old integration law

A black elementary school student has been told he cannot keep attending his school after his family moves later this year because he is African-American.

Edmund Lee, nine, a pupil of Gateway Science Academy in St Louis, Missouri, says he wants to stay at the school when mom La’Shieka White moves to St. Louis County, outside the school district.

The charter school has a transfer program that would allow Lee to keep studying there after the move – but thanks to a decades-old law, African-Americans are specifically barred from using it.

Decades-old legislation initially designed to promote integration in Missouri schools specifically bars Lee (pictured with mother La'Shieka White, left) from transferring back to the school because of his race

White told Fox 2: ‘When I read the guidelines I was in shock. I was crying.’

According to his family, Lee is a model student with a 3.83 GPA and above average testing scores in language arts, math, and science.

They say he loves the school, his friends there and the teachers, who also agree that Lee should be allowed to stay.

Tiffany Luis, Lee’s third-grade teacher, said: ‘To not see his face in the halls next year would be extremely sad. The family is saying they want to stay. I don’t understand why they can’t.’

However, Gateway Science Academy officials say their hands are tied because of the legislation.

The school transfer laws, some of which date back decades, are hangovers from efforts to desegregate the Missouri school system.

On the other side of the spectrum, White says she has heard from parents of white children who have also been barred from participating in transfer systems elsewhere in the state.

White added: ‘These guidelines were put in place by the state and is unfair for my child who has been going to the school since kindergarten and has been excelling.

‘Not admitting Edmund simply because he is African American is just wrong. My son loves his school, friends, and teachers.

‘The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education should not deny my son admission based on his race.’

Assistant Principal Janet Moak said she would be open to having a debate around the transfer system and changing the rules if necessary.

Attempts by to contact White and Gateway Science Academy have so far gone unanswered.

Edmund Lee’s family are petitioning the school district to change the transfer laws. Read and sign that petition by clicking here

Source: The DailyMail

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