Olecia James filed a lawsuit against the Mississippi Cleveland School District after a white student with a lower GPA was recognized as salutatorian of her 2018 graduating class.
What We Know:
- Initially, James’ grade point average was 4.41. In the lawsuit James claims that two weeks before graduation, Cleveland Central High School officials issued her a new transcript with a lowered GPA of 4.33, placing her .o1 points behind a white student whose GPA was 4.34. The new GPA was calculated without credit for advanced placement courses James had taken at a historically black school, East Side High School.
- The school district was forced to integrate in 2017. James is one of the many students who was illegally segregated by race in the Mississippi Cleveland School District. Her graduating class of 2018 was the first to graduate from the newly integrated school.
- In the lawsuit, James states that her achievement was taken away “to prevent white flight.” White flight is when large numbers of white people leave an area when minority groups join the population. It is an attempt to flee diversification. Because size is one of the factors that determine school funding, white flight would decrease available funds to the school should it lose a large number of their students.
- She is seeking monetary damages for lost scholarship opportunities and court costs, from the school district.
The school district has not yet responded to the lawsuit.