Lufkin High School class sparks concerns of segregation

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Some people say it is tailored education, but some concerned parents call it segregation. Lufkin High School is pushing for a course offered only to African American females. Despite the controversy, school authorities say that it may end up benefitting students.

"First of all you have to be black and second of all, but equally as important, you have to be female. It's only for black female students" said John Mitchell, the Language Arts Facilitator of LISD. "And, it will always be only for black females."

The pilot Black Female Literature Course has some questioning why other students couldn't benefit from the course, too.

"We're targeting certain students, trying to get them interested, trying to get them to understand their culture as they relate to it," Mitchell explained.

In the past, Lufkin High School has introduced black literature in English classes, but not without problems.

"The biggest problem we have in teaching black literature is judgment. When you do that, when you teach it to children who are not familiar with the culture, not familiar with the writings, then they jump automatically to judgements about the culture," explained Mitchell. "[In this course] you don't find that. We're creating a safety zone for these girls that they can go in and ask questions and be free to find out what's going on in the minds of these people and where they're coming from."

Mitchell thinks that eventually all students could benefit, but for now they're starting small.

"Maybe someday we'll have a black studies course that will include white children, that they can come into and learn, but right now, that's not what we're targeting. We're targeting black students to give them a place in the academic system to where they can realize the the importance of their own culture."

Lufkin High School also offers a hispanic males only class, but it targets skill development. They say their goal is to ensure each student enjoys school in a way that is especially tailored for them.