South Bend, Indiana public school officials have launched a series of field trips for third graders designed to introduce black students – and only black students – to local colleges in an apparent effort to expose youngsters to the history of Jim Crow-era race segregation early in their academic careers.
In an explanation that defies believe, officials at the seven public elementary schools involved said that they did not intend the taxpayer-funded school activity to be discriminatory saying instead that they were trying to inspire black students to attend college because too few black students continue their education beyond high school.
Dr. G. David Moss, Director of African-American student and parent services, told ABC 57 News in South Bend, Indiana that the program involving seven local elementary schools that:
“I want these third graders to have the opportunity to think of themselves as college students.” …“We take them to a college campus, have them meet African-American students, modeling the idea that as a black person, college is a great place.”
“It was not meant to be exclusionary.” …“It was only meant to support and give these kids what they need to think positively about themselves and about their future.”
Opinion among parents in South Bend – both black and white – is split about their children being treated differently based on skin color because it amounts to racial discrimination.
Deirdra Mullings who has a son who will go on one of the field trips said, “I feel like all kids should be going.” Another parent Kelly Garing said, “It creates a double standard. I just think it breeds intolerance and creates misunderstandings.”
“I was hired to look at the issues facing African-American kids in the South Bend Community Schools Corporation and my job specifically says that I need to develop programs and develop strategies to help these kids and their families become more successful academically…”
In February, another instance of segregated activities involving public high schools occurred in suburban Chicago. Oak Park and River Forest High School hosted a “Black Lives Matter” event exclusively for black students.
Some believe the event was staged to incite racial hatred between black and white students following the New York City chokehold death of Eric Garner and the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Authorities maintained that there was no intent to segregate the event based on race after segregating the event based on race.