Chapel Hills ISD facing controversy over valedictorian - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Chapel Hills ISD facing controversy over valedictorian

By Taylor Hemness - email

CHAPEL HILL, TX (KLTV) - Jon'Kayla Brown says she's been at the top of her class since junior high. However, as it stands right now, her name will not be called as valedictorian at Chapel Hill High School's graduation.

However, Jon'Kayla's family says the results were more than just counting grades. They believe race and gender played a part.

At the high school campus on Monday, Jon'Kayla's family, along with the representatives from the NAACP, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, gathered for a prayer meeting on the matter.

Her mother says Jon'Kayla had already been told she would be the valedictorian, but then said on May 22nd that her GPA was second in her class, behind a white male student.

Her mother also says that the school will not reveal the other student's grades.

"It doesn't matter what color, that you can do anything you want to do, and become anything that you want to become," said Kay Dean, Jon'Kayla's mother. "And for them to come and take this in the 9th hour, it's unethical, and I don't see how they can support this."

"You're dealing with a very delicate issue here of a young African American top student, who beat all odds to become number one in her class, and valedictorian," said Rev. Kyev Tatum with the SCLC. "And there's a shift in the ninth hour, maybe justifiably so, maybe not, but that shift is something that you should be sensitive to."

The SCLC has contacted both Governor Rick Perry's office, and the Texas Education Agency to investigate any improprieties in the school's GPA calculation process. But district officials say they stand by their final rankings.

"When I got the call about this press conference, we did some recalculations one more time this morning, to check them another time, and they came out the same," said school superintendent Joe Stubblefield.

Stubblefield tells KLTV 7 that he has assigned two people, one from the administration, and one from another campus, to go over the rankings again this week.

Jon Kayla Brown says she's hoping to attend Baylor University in the fall, and her family says they're worried the rankings could affect her financial aid.

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