Every year, high schools across the country honor the student with the highest GPA as class valedictorian. But one mother is crying foul, saying that her daughter was unfairly forced to share the honor — and according to her, it’s solely because her daughter is black.
Sherry Shepard filed a federal discrimination lawsuit on behalf of her daughter, Jasmine Shepard, against the Cleveland School District. Her complaint is that Jasmine was named “co-valedictorian” with a white student in May of 2016. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, Shepard says, except the white student had a lower GPA.
The suit, filed in Mississippi at the end of June, claims that there was a racial motivation to the school’s decision. “Prior to 2016, all of Cleveland High School’s valedictorians were white. As a result of the school official’s unprecedented action of making an African-American student share the valedictorian award with a white student, the defendants discriminated against,” the suit reads.