How Black High School Students Are Hurt by Modern-Day Segregation | NowThis

How Black High School Students Are Hurt by Modern-Day Segregation | NowThis

August 17, 2019 100 By Stanley Isaacs


the mold the carpet the walls itself the
classroom the teachers everything that you need in the school or could use in
the school it’s not there at this point it’s just like a daycare for teenagers
students at block High School in rural Louisiana say conditions at their school
are so bad that they’re struggling to get an education that building there be
building it is completely unsafe but we still do go in there as far as using the
auditorium these are the textbooks they were given at the beginning of the
school year teachers across the country continue to go on strike but public
education in rural areas gets little national attention we traveled to
Catahoula Parish Louisiana one of the poorest parishes one of the poorest
states in the country to see why students are speaking out in what
conditions and deep south schools are like more than six decades after
desegregation they try to make you a world history teacher geography teacher
and a a CT prim and a standardized test you prep teacher and are you certified
free I’m almost certain I the physical education their athletic coats Bennie
volt inspired his students to speak out I thought history for a while I thought
I taught the amendments you know the First Amendment you have the right to
protest it made you teach history so you said okay I’ll teach him history I’ll
teach him the history of protein history world’s a coverage sign of the protest
and black high school you know what you’re doing how you
expect me to do block high school is situated in Jonesville the poorest
section of Catahoula parish nearly 70% of seniors are black and about 60% of
students here do not go on to college after graduation but 13 miles away
there’s another school in the same school district that looks a lot
different nearly 90 percent of the senior class here is white they perform
better academically and enroll in college at a higher rate so we just
tried to film inside Harrisonburg high school but the superintendent won’t let
our cameras inside they don’t want the principal’s to talk to us on camera but
there’s a clear notable difference in how the school looks compared to black
high school dr. Gilley Freeman is in charge of all schools in the district
including block and Harrisonburg high school when we talked to students and we
talked to families at black high school they compared it to Harrisonburg they
say Harrisonburg has beautiful facilities why do you think they’re
saying there’s such a difference several of the other schools communities with
past Bondi’s she’s specifically around facility renovation and refurbishment
and in the recent years Johnsville hasn’t passed any such issue to address
their schools Freeman says that the state of Louisiana gives a set amount of
money to school districts but individual towns can raise additional money by
issuing a bond or a tax this has allowed them to do is to create inside a single
school district high schools that are really inequitable in terms of their
funding when it comes to facility maintenance in a way that creates
schools that are economically segregated and usually segregated Belinda Davis is
a public policy professor in education advocate at Louisiana State University
we showed her video from inside block high school the entire school board a
Catahoula parish ought to be ashamed halli school and that district that is
in that kind of shape do you think it’s fair the system as it is right now well
that’s a perception issue overall funding for public education for a
district has reduced over the period of time the demographics and the population
of our parish has decreased and quite frankly because of economic conditions
are a lack of business and industry Block high school graduate Tomiko blood
saw works as an accountant at a local sheriff’s office
she says the school districts budget shows how unequal the funding is this is
their 2018-2019 budget Jonesville has three schools that they’re funding this
is some amount of revenue that’s brought in for just Jonesville schools upkeep
for the building and the grounds come out to be about $22,000 you have to
divide that by three schools is that enough money no it’s going to get fixed
no not compared to the other schools but you come to Harrisonburg one school they
get a total of $20,000 $20,000 whereas black high school is getting like 7,000
yes these parents are getting ready to meet
with school board members in the superintendent to demand that block High
School get fixed how did that meeting go what’s gonna happen is
to a matter of integrity and accountability are they going to be a
board and district of their word is thought to do what we need them to do
for the vision of our children and whether or not they’re going to hold the
necessary people accountable one potential solution that people talk
about to fix the schools here is just to consolidate all the schools in the
district but we just got off the phone with a school board member who says that
parents at Harrisonburg high school don’t want their kids going to the same
school as bloc students because of their quote moral character I have some
friends to go to Harrison Berry school but they’ve talked about this in and
came back and my friends are no longer friends with them because of the
comments and things that they’ve said what kind of comments racial comments
students there have said things about students and teachers look what kind of
things like I’m not coming down to teach those animals or you know stuff like
that sure cold wants to go to college but she
says she’s not ready honestly I don’t know what I’m going to do after high
school I might go to college and I might go into the army because I don’t think
I’m mentally prepared for college as far as the education that I’ve lacked so far
and I just don’t want to really go through that struggle so you don’t you
don’t feel like this school has prepared you for college no sure you don’t feel
like you’ve gotten the education you need
who do you think should be held accountable for this honestly I think
they all should be held accountable because it starts at the top
it takes us children to protest to have people like you come down and talk to us
it’s been going on far too long and they go a little too late