ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – A St. Louis mother is in shock after learning her son’s skin color will keep him from attending the school of his choice. Edmund Lee is an African-American 3rd grader at Gateway Science Academy, a charter school in south St. Louis. His family is moving to St. Louis County this year.
State law allows some county residents the opportunity to attend a city charter school, but they must live in a district participating in transfer programs, and can not be an African-American.
“When I read the guidelines I was in shock,” said La’Shieka White, Edmund’s mother. “I was crying.”
School officials say their hands are tied because of state regulations created decades ago. The rules were designed to address segregation problems with St. Louis schools. Leaders at Gateway Science Academy believe it’s time to revisit those rules.
“If this helps us start a conversation about maybe some things that could be different with the law, then that is as good thing,” said Assistant Principal Janet Moak.
White launched a petition asking lawmakers to take notice of her situation.
She’s also heard from parents of white students unable to participate in transfer programs for African-Americans.
“I don’t want it to be just about an African-American boy,” said White. “I want it to be about all children.”
Some staff members at Gateway Science Academy have signed White’s petition.
“To not see his face in the halls next year would be extremely sad,” said Tiffany Luis,” Edmund’s 3rd grade teacher. “The family is saying they want to stay. I don’t understand why they can’t.”