Oxford School District: We are not going to segregate - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Oxford School District: We are not going to segregate

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

An emergency meeting was held in Oxford after many were outraged, worried that a new type of segregation could be coming to their schools.

"My concern is all students getting the same quality education, getting the same opportunities," NAACP member Ruth Ball said. 

Ball said she wants a stop put to the segregation before it happens. 

"Don't punish a child for their parents' income," Ball said. 

The controversy stems from an article a student wrote in the high school paper about efforts to close the achievement gap and how it is affected by low income.

"There are lots of studies that talk about the income-achievement gap," Oxford School District Superintendent Brian Harvey said. "It's time to do something about it. So, we started looking at options."

Harvey told the student in an interview that he had seen a presentation by a group from Virginia in June. The presentation involved allowing students from low-income families who are on the free or reduced lunch program to opt into a school for students from low-income families.

He said it is only one of the options the district is considering.

"It was never intended that that was going to be the solution," Harvey said. "It was a solution that another school district in another state had used and seen great success with."

But, what many people took away from the article is that Oxford School District is going to put poor students in a separate school, in other words, segregate them.

"It was a miscommunication I think," Oxford School Board president Marian Barksdale said. 

Barksdale said segregating any students is not an option in Oxford.

"No. We are certainly not going to do that," she said. 

Despite the controversy, Harvey said he and the board will continue exploring options to close the achievement gap.

The promise of no segregation is something that concerned citizens want to ensure is upheld.

"Expecting for them to live up to what they just told us," Ball said.

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