Lufkin High School Pilot Course Sparks Concerns of Segregation

by Kirby Gibbs

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It's raising concerns of segregation, but may end up benefitting students at one east texas school. KTRE revisits Lufkin High School and their push for a course offered only to African American females.

"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" says John Mitchell, the Language Arts Facilitator of LISD.

You heard it yesterday...and you're hearing it again today...

..."And it will always be only for Black females", confirms Mitchell.

The pilot Black Female literature course, only made available to a select few, 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."

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

"The biggest problem we have in teaching Black literature is judgment and 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. 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 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.