A black student attending a high school southeast of Little Rock, Arkansas, was not allowed by her school to be valedictorian despite having the highest grade point average in her graduating class.
Kymberly Wimberly, 18, a graduate of McGehee Secondary School, received only one B during her four years of high school and took numerous honors and AP courses, says Courthouse News.
By maintaining such a consistent level of academic proficiency, Wimberly was able to attain her graduating class' highest GPA. Nevertheless, she was unable to become sole valedictorian, a fact Wimberly says is part of a pattern of discrimination against black students at the school.
According to the Huffington Post, in a court document filed by Wimberly's lawyer, John W. Walker, this was not the first time such an event had occurred at the school.
Wimberly's mother, Molly Bratton, the school's "certified media specialist," stated in the federal discrimination complaint that after she found out that her daughter would be valedictorian, she overheard other school personnel discussing how Wimberly's valedictorian status could cause a "big mess."
The day after, principal Darrell Thompson told the mother that he had decided to name a white student "co-valedictorian" despite the fact that Wimberly had a higher GPA and a press release given to a local newspaper had already touted her as the sole valedictorian.
The school refused to hear Bratton's appeal on her daughter's behalf. Wimberly is seeking punitive damages for violation of the equal protection rights that the 14th amendment provides.