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McGehee girl rejects role as school co-valedictorian

By The Associated Press

This article was published July 29, 2011 at 4:20 p.m.

— A recent graduate of McGehee High School says racial bias was behind a decision to demote her to “co-valedictorian” last May. The district says a second girl deserved to be recognized, too, because of her academic achievements.

Kimberly Wimberly sued the McGehee School District last week, seeking at least $75,000 and a declaration that she is the school’s lone valedictorian. She says the district added a co-valedictorian so a black student wouldn’t take top honors in a district where black students make up less than half the enrollment.

Superintendent Thomas Gathen told KLRT-TV in Little Rock the second girl took more classes and that a school rule prevents extra course work from penalizing students when calculating grade point averages.

Wimberly plans to attend the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Comments on: McGehee girl rejects role as school co-valedictorian

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Pistol says... July 29, 2011 at 6:08 p.m.

Racism and another black uses the word................

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evanspe12170820 says... July 29, 2011 at 6:16 p.m.

The school superintendant stated to another news organization that "when the numbers were recalculated the girls ended their four years of school with the same totals". So the school did the right thing in naming them co-valedictorians. According to reports, they both gave speeches as co-valedictorians, so I don't know how this article can headline that the now plaintiff in a lawsuit "rejects" her co-valedictorian status. This is a regretful situation that is only a lotto chance for John Walker to be awarded attorney's fees. I would like to see Mr. Walker sponsor a Racial Unity Day in Arkansas to be held at Alltel Arena instead of fostering division with lawsuits such as this one. That Unity Day ain't never going to be sponsored by the folks who benefit from division.

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evanspe12170820 says... July 29, 2011 at 6:35 p.m.

If Arkansas sponsored a Racial Unity Day on the Big Dam Bridge and the associated LR and NLR parks on Saturday, November 12, 2011, say, maybe those evil multinational corporations might take notice and hire our hillbilly and delta selves! Let's put our best foot forward to multinational corporations showing that we have the education and can do drive to fill any manufacturing, tech or ag jobs they might want to locate here.

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evanspe12170820 says... July 29, 2011 at 6:40 p.m.

That's Saturday, November 12, 2001 at 1:00 pm. Racial Unity Day celebration for Arkansas on the Big Dam Bridge and the associated LR and NLR parks. Be there or be Square or Hateful.

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evanspe12170820 says... July 29, 2011 at 6:58 p.m.

OK typo: November 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm on the Big Dam Bridge and associated NLR and LR parks for the Racial Unity Event.

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evanspe12170820 says... July 29, 2011 at 7:01 p.m.

LR Mosaic Church, what are you doing on November 12, 2011 to contribute to the cause?

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tonibarb says... July 29, 2011 at 9:53 p.m.

Yes, things like this still happens everyday.

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CJJ says... July 29, 2011 at 11:10 p.m.

She'll scream the same RACISM $%^&.......no matter where she goes....
talk about a hypocrite..........

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NoUserName says... July 30, 2011 at 1:10 a.m.

So, the school has a rule that extra classes taken cannot hurt a student GPA. After removing the extra classes from the GPA calculation, the GPA's of the 2 students were identical. But it's racist? Ok. Unless the rule was just instituted this year, I don't see how it could be.

In this day and age of internet searching for candidates, crying racism for something that - at least as currently reported - appears to be less than legitimate, can potentially do more harm than good. As someone who has interviewed candidates before, you better believe I'd be leery of hiring someone who appeared to file a frivolous lawsuit like this. I'd be worried about my future liability.

Of course, that takes the story at face value and assumes no more relevant facts are reported.

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