“Outrageous”.. “divisive”…and “racist.” That’s how some are describing a student assembly held Friday at South Houston High School, targeted only at black students.
The assembly dealt with low test scores and bad attitudes and behavior, and the need to improve. Only African-American students were called to attend.
During the assembly, a visual presentation was given, featuring African-American students posing in shots showing them disregarding the dress code, loitering, and sleeping in class.
“I found it completely racist,” said one student, who said she was shocked when she realized only black students were being called out of their homeroom class to attend. She wasn’t the only one who was offended.
“I didn’t expect to go in there and see– hey, there’s a bunch of black kids.. We’re being stereotyped today.. We’re all dressing ‘gangster’”, said another student who attended the meeting.
The assembly was called by the school’s assistant principal, Demetrius Hill, who is African-American.
The Pasadena Independent School District told us he was not available for comment. District Spokeswoman Candace Ahlfinger said the assembly was an effort to inspire and motivate the students, not to denigrate them.
Not all students who attended the assembly found it offensive or racist. Some said they felt inspired to do better. But others said they, as well as Hispanic and Caucasian students, found it divisive and discriminatory.
The district told Fox 26 it has held similar gatherings with Hispanic and Caucasian students. But students we spoke to said they were unaware of any previous assemblies targeting only one racial group.
The district says African-American students make up about 10 percent of the student population at South Houston High School.
Some local African-American community leaders also expressed outrage over the “black only” assembly.
Yolanda Smith with the Houston branch of the NAACP called it “divisive” and “a step backwards”, just days after our nation elected its first black president who ran on a platform of uniting America.