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It’s back-to-school time, and I must admit that while applying to universal Pre-K programs in my Staten Island, New York district, I was very conscious of the racial mix–or lack thereof–in the schools to which I would be sending my child. The keyword is “mix,” because I consider a classroom and school that includes all races to be healthy. I understand that there are certain neighborhoods in which one race may be dominant. Still, I prefer to actively pursue educational atmospheres that allow my child to be surrounded by people of all backgrounds, as well as those similar to hers.

Having grown up in Staten Island, I remember what it was like being the one of the only kids of color in my classes for a chunk of the years before junior high school. I felt alone, remember being picked on and feeling like an outcast. I’m not looking for sympathy because I know my story is not unique and kids worldwide feel the same way I did–or worse–for many different reasons. But I also know that having been through those experiences, I can help my daughter have a healthier experience of her own. So after a few years of nursery school at a well-known community center where she was often the solo black child, I found a school for her that I think has a healthy mix of all races.

It seems as if Nettleton Middle School in Mississippi was going for the whole idea of a healthy mix when it came to their class officer elections, but failed miserably. The image above shows “their rules for student election,” which requires students to have a “B,” average, good attendance, and oh, the biggest detail of all: if you want to be class president, you must be white. You can shoot for vice president if you are black, but you have to be in the 8th grade. And if you want to be a reporter, you have to be white and in the 7th grade. The blog Mixed and Happy originally reported the Nettleton Middle School story.

First, I must ask: Are there no Latino or Asian children in this school? Where would they fit into these school elections?

While I get that the school was trying to make sure a mix of black and white students were represented in the school elections, they’ve excluded any other race from being involved in the process. They have also managed to still make the voting choices unfair by excluding any black students from becoming president.

According to reports, the Nettleton middle school has about 400 students, and about 72 percent are white, the majority of the remaining students are black. Was this policy enforced to reflect the fact that the school is mostly white? Is that the way to go? Besides the statement from the superintendent, no middle school administrators have spoken publicly, so it is not clear why or how this policy was established, or if the races allotted for each office changes each year.

Do the administrators at Nettleton have some pent-up frustrations about the current real world presidency that they are spreading to our children? Another interesting piece to this story: If you go to the school website, you can scroll down and see that two of the administrators are black females, the other are white males.

The Nettleton school superintendent, Russell Taylor, posted a statement on the district’s web site announcing a review of the “processes, historical applications, compliance issues, as well as current implications and ramifications” of the student election system.

Here’s to hoping the bit of media attention their class elections are garnering will make the Nettleton Middle School go back and start from scratch with this sloppy attempt at affirmative action.

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