A high school student and her family from Mississippi are planning to sue a high school after forcing the student to share her valedictorian title with another student.
The Washington Post reports Jasmine Shephard was the top of her class with the highest GPA. She is the school’s first black valedictorian. Cleveland High School forced the high school senior to share her title with another student that had a GPA lower than hers.
The lawsuit claims that the high school had only white valedictorians prior to 2016. Shephard’s family believes the school forced her to share her title was because of her race.
““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.”
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Shephard had to give her speech after the white student during graduation and would have walked behind her but she refused to. She does not want any negative action taken towards her fellow classmate. The student is described as “the kindest-hearted, sweetest person”.
The school district believes the lawsuit is unnecessary because both students have identical GPAs. Shepards mother calculated the GPAs and said the girls knew each other since middle school.
“These children have been attending school with each other since middle school.“We know the schedule, we know what they take, and we have a good idea where the discrepancy lies.”
Her mother also stated that the school has tried to segregate the school but has failed to because of the Brown v.Board of Education decision.
The lawsuit asks for Shepard to be properly named as the valedictorian and damages were not stated. A Facebook page has been set up to support Jasmine and her family’s cause.