Claims of racism surround Thomasville school program -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Claims of racism surround Thomasville school program

Superintendent Sabrina Boykins-Everett Superintendent Sabrina Boykins-Everett
Dr. Marilyn McCluskey Dr. Marilyn McCluskey
THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - A new program targeting students at risk of not graduating is stirring up controversy in Thomasville; A former school employee claims the program is designed to hold black students back.

Last night's school board meeting quickly turned into a venting session for parents concerned about a new program aimed at closing an achievement gap among students.

"To reach that bottom quartile of students who are not successful at this point in their school career," said Superintendent Sabrina Boykins-Everett.

It's called The Academic Recovery Program. Or ARP. But former Thomasville High School graduation coach Dr. Marilyn McCluskey says it sets certain students up for failure.

"Parents, it's time for y'all to hold this board of education accountable," said McCluskey, to a round of applause. "It's a program where they're going to place all the little black kids in, that are in the lower levels, and they're going to dump them all in there together. So it's a holding cell for them," said Dr. McCluskey.

The school board says the program, which is based on a student's academic performance, did not take demographics into account.

"As far as those students being separated racially, you're talking about a pool of students that comes from a group of students that are nearly 100% African American, anyway," said Boykins-Everett.

Dr. McCluskey said the program only separates these students from cultural diversity and doesn't give them a "fair chance."

"If you educate the Negro, you unfit him for a slave. That is what I feel is going on here. If we educate these negroes, then they're not fit for slavery. Slavery being prison, slavery being food stamps, slavery being welfare," said Dr. McCluskey.

Board members have invited the Thomasville Branch of the NAACP to come to a meeting to address concerns.

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