African-American Teen Mom Forced to Share Valedictorian Title
October 14, 2011
A couple of months ago, Kymberly Wimberly, an African-American student in Arkansas, filed a lawsuit against her high school. The lawsuit claims officials discriminated against Wimberly by refusing to name her the sole valedictorian of the class of 2011—despite her having the highest GPA.
In a conversation overheard by Wimberly’s mother (who works as a media specialist at her daughter’s school), a staff member allegedly said that having Wimberly as valedictorian would mean a “big mess” for McGehee High School. A white student with a lower GPA than Wimberly’s was named co-valedictorian the day after Wimberly’s mother says she overheard this conversation. It may be that McGehee High School couldn’t accept that an African-American student—who also happens to be a teen mom—is perfectly capable of earning the prestigious title of valedictorian.
Although it’s not completely clear whether racism, discrimination against teen mothers or both prompted the actions of McGehee High School administration, the decision to have Wimberly share the title she deserved with a student who had a lower GPA has yet to be adequately explained. And if discrimination did take place, we can only hope the courts do what’s necessary to make the situation right.