3rd Grader Can’t Attend School Because He’s African-American


Edmund Lee is a third-grader attending Gateway Science Academy, a charter school in south St. Louis. He currently has a 3.83 GPA and above average testing scores. So you may ask, “What’s the big deal?” His family is moving to St. Louis County and have discovered that he would not be able to remain at his school due to him being African-American.

State law states that some county residents can attend a city charter school but they must reside in a district that participates in the transfer program and must not be African-American. Unfortunately, Gateway Science Academy cannot do anything about the situation because of the regulations created years ago. The rules were designed to address segregation problems with St. Louis schools. Leaders at Gateway Science Academy believe it’s time to revisit those rules.

As stated by La’Shieka White, Lee’s mother, “Our family is moving to the nearby Pattonville school district. When I asked the admissions office if Edmund would still be allowed to attend I was forwarded the admissions guidelines and was shocked at what I read. Children from the school district where we are moving are allowed to enroll in Gateway Science Academy as long as they don’t identify as African-American.”

White has also heard from parents of Caucasian students who are not able to participate in African-American programs. She says that she doesn’t want it to be just about an African-American boy, but about all children.

White has created a petition asking Missouri state officials to allow Edmund to remain at GSA. The petition currently has over 1,000 signatures.

PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.


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