Dear Superintendent Thomas Gathen, and members of the McGehee school board,
I’m outraged by how McGehee High School has treated Kymberly Wimberly and deeply disturbed by the broader pattern of discriminatory practices brought to light by this incident.
Wimberly achieved the highest GPA at McGehee High School and was named the school’s valedictorian, only to have another student later appointed as her “co-valedictorian.” The school’s treatment of Wimberly strongly suggests that it is afraid of recognizing a Black student as its highest academic achiever. Equally disturbing is the allegation that Black students at the school are routinely steered away from advanced classes at the school, while their White classmates are encouraged to take advanced classes.
McGehee High School’s treatment of Wimberley sends a terrible message to students, especially Black students. You must act immediately to correct this injustice, end racial discrimination at McGehee High School, and make it clear that the school has high expectations for all its students and will help them succeed at the highest level they can, regardless of race.
I urge you to right this wrong by publicly recognizing Wimberly as her class's sole valedictorian and by explaining the actions you will take to end discrimination at McGehee High School.