Black Valedictorian Allegedly Not Fully Recognized by School

by Avyaunn Penn, Your Black World

Kymberly Wimberly, an African-American young lady out of Arkansas, has the highest GPA at McGehee Secondary School according to court documents. Despite this young lady’s achievement, her family has filed papers in court claiming the school denied her rightful valedictorian status because she is black.  According to The Huffington Post, Wimberly’s lawyer by the name of John W. Walker included the following in their court filing:

“[The] defendant’s actions were part of a pattern and practice of school administrators and personnel treating the African-American students less favorably than the Caucasian ones…Until Wimberly, the last African-American valedictorian in the McGeeHee school district was in 1989.”

Molly Bratton, Wimberly’s mother, says that she heard school staff discussing her daughter’s position as valedictorian in a negative light and stating that it could be a “big mess.” It appears that in order to suppress tension Darrell Thompson, the high school principal, told Bratton that another student was named “co-valedictorian” although this student’s GPA was lower than that of Wimberly. Thompson had already allowed a press release with the new information to be sent to local papers. The Huffington Post reports that “despite Bratton’s protests, the school board would not hear her appeal on her daughter’s behalf, [and] Wimberly seeks punitive damages for violation of equal protection rights secured by the 14th amendment of the U.S. constitution.”

This is a part of Ayvaunn Penn‘s Black And Making It series. She is also a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.

10 responses to “Black Valedictorian Allegedly Not Fully Recognized by School

  1. The constitution is nothing more than words on an old price of paper jept on display in Washington DC for it’s tourist attraction value

    It has no bearing on the law today

  2. I applaude this mothers fight for her daughter to be acknowledged, it is important that her daughter see and knows how important all her achievements and hard work are, that is what this mother is showing her daughter and it will only propel her to higher heights we would not want her to get discouraged and feel that putting the time and effort in for study and achieveing is not worth the effort so why bother if it will not be acknowledged!!! If not by the school in general then via the media and school board.

  3. What I have learned, through experience and observation, is that this country does not want educated black women. We are a bigger threat because we are the backbone of our race, the keeper of our heritage. They must keep us down, so that we “fit” into the stereotype they made for us. An educated black woman is “nit-picked,” to near frustration about everything that does not and should not matter in a work/educational environment. I’ve been told my hair needs to change, I need to smile more (to prove I’m not mad at anyone), my hair is “too powerful” and other nonsense. Maybe our men have abandoned us, but we are still feared because we survive and excel in spite of it.

  4. This “article” failed to mention that she got pregnant and had a baby during the school year missing school some. Still she was the named salutatorian. When the end of school came she did have the higher GPA but was made co-valedictorian instead. It’s about character and image. What does that say to the other students who chose not to have sex? Just get all the facts.

    • What are you talking about? Valedictorians are not chosen because of their behavior or character. They are recognized strictly for having the highest gpa of the graduating class. The only fact that matters is that she had the highest gpa!

  5. Ah yes, those pesky double standards still raising their ugly heads, despite the fact that it’s 2011 and there’s a Man of Color as President of these United States (has anyone else noted the double standards cast upon President Barack other than me?). Let’s not be fooled to believe that alls well, or will ever be. This child was victorious over the system not designed for her to excel, however, having done so,threw a wrench into the process., Limited minds and corrupted hearts were not prepared for this, so at best let’s institute a compromise was the answer. Molly couldn’t be denied, God Bless her, but would not be granted her earned superiority (over the designers themselves). Be not fooled, these actions continue to transcends socio-economic as well as color, and unfortunately, will continue to do so. To Molly, continue to excel, and you will reach “The Promise Land”.

  6. This is one more of the daily white supremacy acts committed by white people every day in every town, city, county, state, the Ununited States, and the world. This racist country is committed to the mission of ensuring that all superior work done by African-Americans is dismissed, ignored, suppressed or simply not reported. Even in those instances when African –Americans have clearly won or given a winning performance, white people experience great difficulty accepting their inferiority. The GPA is calculated to a decimal point to determine the highest one, so the young African-American woman won the right to be valedictorian and that runs white people crazy. The reality of Black Supremacy contradicts all the propaganda that white people have been advancing for over 500 years.

  7. Congratulations to this young lady’s family for fighting this. Too many times, we don’t put our money where our mouth is. Some people would rather spend money on shoes, clothes and alcohol, rather than for something worthwhile like this. Much love and respect to her family.

  8. I am not sure of the facts surrounding this high school’s selection process for valedictorian. But there must be something in written to allow attendance and GPA to carry the same apparent weight in such a serious criteria for any student aspiring a college career. This high school is truly sending a dreadful message to a huge percentage of high school females (and males) who do not attend positive parenting classes. Furthermore, if this co-valedictorian is seeking a college career, it must to be clear on her college application that her co-valedictorian status is based on her attendance.

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