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Lawsuit alleges Mississippi high school named a white student over Black student with better grades


Olecia James filed a laws*uit last week that alleges Northern District of Mississippi awarded a white student salutatorian of their graduating class even though she had a higher grade-point average.

James f*iled the federal laws*uit against the school district,


claiming the decision cost her a college scholarship. The 18-year-old said she was told that her weighted grade-point average would be docked “quality points” earned in courses she had taken at a historically-black school in the state’s Cleveland School District before a new, desegregated school was opened in 2017 according to The Hill.

The points were only deducted from students who had taken classes at the historically black school rather than the historically white one, according to the lawsuit. The suit also claims that after James pushed back on the decision, she was told her “quality point average” would be restored to 4.41, but a white male student with a 4.34 average was still named salutatorian.

“The defendants . . . in their angst to prevent white flight, named W.M., a white male student, as salutatorian of the inaugural class of Cleveland Central High School in 2018, a position he had not earned, and in doing so, discriminated against Olecia James, a black female who had earned the position,” the lawsuit claims.

James now a student at Alcorn State University, told the Washington Post she had initially been admitted to the University of Mississippi but lost a scholarship because it was intended for salutatorians.


The suit seeks monetary damages, a change in school policy and an official declaration that James is salutatorian.

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