Mississippi school system accused of cheating black students out of honors

After two black high school students from Mississippi were recently forced to share their valedictorian honors and salute with two white students, it brought back sensitive memories of a 2016 graduate who went through the same thing.

Jasmine Shepard graduated from Cleveland High School in Mississippi in 2016. At the time, Shepard was to be honored as valedictorian of the class. But she was blindsided when she learned that some standard operating procedures had been violated so a white student could share honors with her, EURWeb reports.

While speaking with the outlet, Shepard’s mother, Dr. Sherry Shepard, explained how the white student, identified as “HB” was “allowed to receive credit for courses that weren’t in the school textbook. Mississippi Department of Education approved course”.

The mother and daughter were asked to speak after learning about recent graduates Layla Temple and Ikeria Washington. The two black students went viral after news broke that they were forced to share valedictorian and salute honors with two white students from the West Point Consolidated School District.

Screenshot/Twitter

While Washington and Temple had the two highest QPAs among the class, the school decided to also honor two white students who had the highest GPAs. As a result, four students were recognized by the school as valedictorian and salutatorian, and the school was lambasted on social media.

“A Mississippi HS had two black female students as valedictorian and salutatorian”, now viral tweet read. “Then suddenly, a few hours before graduation, they announced that two more students were ALSO valedictorian and salutatorian for a total of four. The school took down their social media.

The school responded to the backlash by accepting “full responsibility for this misunderstanding” and apologizing for “any confusion and trouble this has caused”. WCBI News reports.

We have come a long way as a country, but situations like this remind us of how far we still have to go.

Jeremy S. McLain