Atlanta schools under federal investigation for allegedly assigning Black kids to classrooms by race
Children (Shutterstock)

On Monday, Axios reported that federal investigators are looking into an allegation that Atlanta Public Schools are assigning Black kids to classrooms based on their race.

"According to a letter sent Nov. 14 to APS and shared with Axios, the complainant alleges that during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years, a principal assigned Black children to second and third-grade classes by race," reported Kristal Dixon. "The AJC reports that a parent, who is Black, made the complaint against Mary Lin Elementary School in Candler Park. The complaint alleges that about 13 Black students were put into two classes, while white students were placed in any of the six second-grade classes, according to the AJC."

According to the report, a school administrator allegedly admitted to the complaining parent that Sharyn Briscoe, the principal at that school, "separated the students so they would not be the only Black children in their class."

"Atlanta Public Schools told Axios in a statement that it is following the federal complaint process," said the report. The district added in its statement, "Given that this matter is pending before a federal administrative agency for consideration, APS has no further comment."

While explicit decisions to group or separate children based on race are illegal, segregation persists in schools throughout the country, often because the neighborhoods the schools enroll children from are themselves segregated.

A series of court decisions over the years have gradually outlawed most of the Civil Rights Movement era methods schools have used to make sure every child had a fair process for school enrollment regardless of race.