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A black Mississippi high school graduate sued her school district this week after being forced to share valedictorian status with a white student who allegedly had a lower GPA.
Jasmine Shephard, a 2016 graduate of Cleveland High School, filed the lawsuit against her Mississippi school district, The Washington Post reported Friday.
From The Washington Post:
An African American woman has filed a federal lawsuit against a Mississippi school district, claiming a white student was named “co-valedictorian” with her daughter, despite the white student having a lower grade-point average.
The day before Jasmine Shepard graduated from Cleveland High School in Cleveland, Miss., in May 2016, the school awarded her and a white student the title “co-valedictorian,” according to the suit filed Tuesday in federal court in the Northern District of Mississippi. This was a first in the 110-year history of the school, the suit said, and the decision was made.
But wait, there is even more outrage. According to Shepard, during the graduation ceremony the school expected her to walk after the white student up to the podium. Shepard pitched a fit and the school then allowed her to walk first. All was still not good, because the white student made her speech before the black student.
“Prior to 2016, all of Cleveland High School’s valedictorians were white. As a result of the school official’s unprecedented action of making an African-American student share the valedictorian award with a white student, the defendants discriminated against, says the lawsuit.
The thing is, both the white student and the black student had the same GPA and that’s the reason why they shared valedictorian honors. The WaPo is completely aware of this fact and yet still chose to frame this as a racist hate crime:
An attorney for the Cleveland School District called the lawsuit “frivolous” and said the students “had identical grade point averages.”