In 2016 a segregation law is affecting the education of a 9-year-old Missouri boy. Edmund Lee is an African-American, honors student at Gateway Science Academy, a charter school in south St. Louis.
Next school year, his family is moving outside of the school district to the neighboring St. Louis County. Unfortunately, this move also means that Edmund will have to find a new school to attend.
According to FOX 2 in St. Louis, “state law allows some county residents the opportunity to attend a city charter school, but they must live in a district participating in transfer programs, and can not be an African-American.”
In 1954, Brown vs. Board of Education declared the racial segregation of public schools was unequal. Unfortunately, Edmund attends a charter school and officials claim that they must adhere to the state regulations until the rules are changed.
“When I read the guidelines I was in shock,” said La’Shieka White, Edmund’s mother. “I was crying.”
The school administrators have expressed their support of revising the law.
“If this helps us start a conversation about maybe some things that could be different with the law, then that is a good thing,” said Gateway’s Assistant Principal Janet Moak.
Apparently, there are also some programs designed to benefit African Americans where Caucasians students are prevented from attending certain schools if they live out of the area. As a result, White has started a petition in hopes of having these antiquated rules dismantled.
“I don’t want it to be just about an African-American boy,” said White. “I want it to be about all children.” Several of the school’s staff members have signed White’s petition including the boy’s 3rd grade teacher Tiffany Luis.
“It ABSOLUTELY breaks my heart that I may not be seeing Edmund’s beautiful face in the GSA halls next year. Edmund is a WONDERFUL student and is exactly what our school stands for” said Louis on the Change.org petition which has already garnered 1,500 of the 2,500 signatures requested.
She added, “We would be SO LUCKY to have Edmund and his family stay here at GSA. The state really needs to reevaluate their guidelines on out of district students. You have my support!”