By Ben Norton
The echoes of Jim Crow continue today, five decades after it officially ended.
Edmund Lee is a third-grader at Gateway Science Academy in St. Louis, Missouri, a charter school he has attended since he was in kindergarten. Yet his family recently learned that he will no longer be able to attend the charter school because he is black.
Lee’s family is moving to a new suburban school district, where a decades-old state law does not allow black students to attend charter schools in the city.
“When I read the guidelines I was in shock,” Lee’s mother LaShieka White told a local Fox affilliate. “I was crying.”
School officials say they are unable to override the state law. But the school’s principal and staff have come out in support of the young boy and his family.
“To not see his face in the halls next year would be extremely sad,” Lee’s third grade teacher told local media. “The family is saying they want to stay. I don’t understand why they can’t.”
The young boy’s mother created a Change.org petition, imploring Missouri state officials: “Don’t let race determine my son’s enrollment.”
“My son Edmund is an awesome young man. He currently has a 3.83 GPA, and has above average testing scores in language arts, math, and science. Edmund is very loving and the first to extend a helping hand if a fellow student needs help,” White writes in the petition.
“So imagine our shock when we found out Edmund would no longer be allowed to attend Gateway Science Academy because he is African-American,” she continues.
“The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education should not deny my son admission based on his race,” White adds. “We are going to show Edmund that his parents, community, and people across the country will fight for what is right.”