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This School Board in FL Shut Black Kids Out of The Best Performing School

By Staff Blogger

Institutionalized racism can be applied through the use of gentrification by government agencies and other bureaucratic societal entities.

In an unfortunate situation in Pinellas County, Florida, the institution applying a controversial gentrification decision was the local public school district. This case began to unfold in a predominantly black neighborhood in the Florida city of St. Petersburg, which was home to a former middle school that was one of the best in the state.

Southside Fundamental Middle school (pictured above) used to be a high-performance academic fixture for children in Pinellas County. Parents of all races flocked to enter the lottery to get their children into this special magnet school. Southside Fundamental Middle used to be almost 30 percent black.

The school received a coveted A-rating by the state and provided the discipline and structure students need to succeed. However, the pinnacle of education progress was brought to an end by the Pinellas County school district. The district closed the school down several years ago citing cost.

The Tampa Bay Times published an in-depth article this week providing an update on this story. The newspaper reported that Southside Fundamental Middle was relocated to a predominantly white neighborhood in Redington Shores, Florida.

The school was also renamed Madeira Beach Fundamental K-8. Currently, black children make up a little over 2% of the student population. The Pinella County school district has also implemented a no-bus policy for all of its high-rated fundamental schools.

Moving these schools out of black neighborhoods and putting them in areas farther away from the county’s poorer population puts black children at a distinct academic disadvantage. Many of them are now attending the inadequately funded schools in the district that have lower academic performance.

“There are parents that want their kids to get a quality education. And they are applying and not being able to get into these schools,” said Ray Tampa, a retired Pinellas County school principal in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times. Mr. Tampa is also a former president of the St. Petersburg NAACP.

“It’s a situation where the African-American students are always at a disadvantage,” Tampa went on to say in his interview. 

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2 thoughts on “This School Board in FL Shut Black Kids Out of The Best Performing School

  1. lynesha flanigan

    Some parents tried to do that here in Chattanooga Tennessee. A school in a very diverse neighborhood is also a magnet school and the upper class parents tried to block the neighborhood kids from going to the school. The school board voted against it through saying that’s not how it works.I’m glad they did that only good thing the school board has done in this city.

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