photo: via Justice for Jasmine Facebook page

When Jasmine Shepard completed her course work at Cleveland High School in Cleveland, Mississippi, she and her family believed that she was on the verge of making history. Shepard had earned the right to be named the first Black valedictorian at Cleveland High in 110 years.

However, White school administrators attempted to dilute her honor by making Shepard a co-valedictorian with a White student who earned a lower grade point average. According to the Washington Post and the Justice for Jasmine Facebook Page, Shepard endured racial discrimination by the school’s officials. Along with being named a co-valedictorian, Shepard was set to walk behind the White student and speak after her, as well.

But Shepard’s mother, Sherry Shepard, stepped up and decided to file a lawsuit in the North District of Mississippi. In the lawsuit, Shepard noted that the Cleveland School District has a history of racial discrimination. The school system had failed to desegregate 50 years after it was ordered to do so. The school finally integrated in 2016 after a judge enforced action.

Attorneys for the Cleveland School District claim Shepard and the White student had similar grade point averages and that it doesn’t discriminate when it comes to race. However, Shepard’s grade point average would automatically be higher because she took several Advanced Placement courses.

Following the lawsuit, the Shepards have received threats and racist comments on their social media pages. One comment on Facebook read, “You n—s and your self-entitled actions make me sick! You shouldn’t even be at the same school as White people! Black lives don’t mean s—.”

The issue sheds light on how racial discrimination continues to occur across the nation on all levels. Something as simple as a high school graduation is marred due to adults who continue to embrace hatred and racist attitudes.

The Shepards are seeking monetary damages and for Jasmine to be named the “sole valedictorian.”

A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

  • william murphy

    Mississippi — what a toilet!

  • nosey rosy

    the school i attedned had the same situation , but they actually pulled it off , why do white folks feel intitled to continue old racist sterio types even after slavery? dont they know god is judging them ? life beyond this one is gonna be hard for racist , and evil , and problematic people who did nothing but hurt others , cause hate , among races . whites are the most racist people on earth , i would not want that legacy . thats death by hell , you cant appologize later , if you dont think you will pay , your needing brain removal . this type of racism goes on on jobs too they quick to promote all the whites , then one black . anyone notice in restaurants they try to place all the blacks in one area? as though the whites would leave if they gotta sit next to blacks ? almost any where you go where they have to seat you they put blacks right next to other blacks or in the back . hidden racism still exist in this year and time . there are some blacks who are indenial and dont see it . but its there . nigerian feel they are safe but , they have children they raise in america ? so they will at some point see racism . and most cant identify it at all , just act like some jigga boo aunt jima , uncle toms

    • God Bless America

      If you notice all these behaviors so well then you must be a very keen racist. The media patriots are all having a field day with this because no one wants to focus on the truth of the matter. If there was one just one of these reports had any brain, he/she would have first researched and reported the exact GPA for both students. End of false new.

      • La-Chanda Sexclibra Smith

        Shut up stupid and sit on your tail. Yes white people have a longer tailbone than anyone else. Look it up, MONKEY!!!

  • SrAgri

    This article says that Shepard had a higher GPA than the other student. Other articles say that the two students have the same GPA. That is really the crux of the matter – did the two students have the same GPA?

    In the past, many schools have given an extra point for AP classes. However, that may not accurately reflect a student’s academic achievement and many schools are discontinuing the practice.

    The high school I attended used to count AP classes in the GPA calculation. The valedictorian in my class took every possible AP class and had a 4.4 GPA. Since then, the school has stopped assigning extra points for AP classes.

    • La-Chanda Sexclibra Smith

      Um she took honors classes and has a higher diploma than she does when it’s averaged out the black girls is higher. I’m not upset about this because most ivy leaugue colleges should be full of decesents of those who built them. White people are the biggest soulless race ever in human history. SUBHUMAN

      • SrAgri

        That’s a bunch of racist drivel.

        If the school does not weight GPA for honors classes, then it should stick to its normal rules. If it changed the rules for this one graduation, that is another matter and would clearly be discrimination.

        • La-Chanda Sexclibra Smith

          What?

      • Barbara Miller

        Not all of us white people are like this idiot, thank the Lord for that !!!

        • Krymson Franklin

          Not all us white people are like that? Lady you are a prime example of a useless race traitor. Stop calling yourself white and embrace the Doleshal in you.

  • ColterBaharyPR

    Furious! Really?! In 2017?! For the life of me, I can’t wrap my cognition around anyone who has pure hatred = jealousy over a person/group because of the color of their skin. This story really infuriates me because this young lady worked her butt off. And to appease a student who didn’t “make the grade” simply because they are white is absurd. Shame on the Superintendent and the entire CHS area administration. Racists are nothing but fearful, low self-esteemed cowards! I hope some university is giving Jasmine a full ride through undergrad and grad school. It’s the very least this world could do!

    • God Bless America

      It infuriates you because its false news and lacks the truth.

  • Barbara Miller

    This is 2017 Mississippi…….not 1917 !!!!!

    • ‘Toni Simmons Henson

      I’m sure that was said that in 1957, 1967, 1977 and 2007… And it will be said again in 2027!

      • Barbara Miller

        As much as I hate to admit you’re right, I know deep in my heart you are. This saddens me to the core of my heart, it truly does !!!

  • MsEmG

    The south will always be the south. I’m glad they’re sueing the school district hopefully she can get money for college or university. Ridiculous not only do you want to dilute her achievement but have her speak and walk behind you as if she’s inferior. Not to worry black sister your time will surely come.

  • L.S.

    This is the south in general. Racism never left the U.S. It was just covered up with political correctness.

  • La-Chanda Sexclibra Smith

    Lol mad because we have always been smarter. Damn shame in 2017, white cave dwellers are so annoying.

    • gVyrus

      If blacks are sooo fucken smart… How come they cant figure out a way to stop killing eachother in record number? Or IQ scores had to be lowered so that the majority of black student could pass. You should really try to get some education about whays really going on instead of placing blame. I get that your proud of your race. As you should be. As EVERYONE should be but the white race is not what keeps the black race down in 2017 the black race keeps the black race down and thats a fact if you want to admit to it or not

      • Barbara Miller

        What the hell does all this BS that you’re ranting about have to do with this young lady having to share the spotlight as valedictorian with a white student with a lower GPA. This is her night to shine as the special student and she’s being robbed of it !!!

        • Krymson Franklin

          Hey Barb. Did you get drunk and leave all your dumb comments? You should research this story a bit and get the real facts rather than just accepting this poorly worded racist article. The true facts here are not represented and you are a fool for falling for it.

          • Barbara Miller

            I don’t drink, smoke or use drugs and I’m not a fool. By the way my name is Barbara not Barb !!!

          • Krymson Franklin

            Sorry Barb, no drugs and no drinking . . . ? I bet the stick up your butt has a stick up its butt.

          • Barbara Miller

            I guess that’s something you will never know……right Krym !!!

          • Krymson Franklin

            No Barb, I am 100% certain that no one likes you.

          • Barbara Miller

            Well don’t expect me to lose any sleep on who likes me and who doesn’t. That’s just part of life !!!

          • Gloria Gibbs

            I like her.

  • xenonman

    Affirmative Action, Mississippi style!

  • Krymson Franklin

    You pathetic colored fools can all go take a running leap into the sun. Sue all you like. Your kind will always cry foul and our kind will always have to tolerate your need to be butthurt.

    • La-Chanda Sexclibra Smith

      Your kind? Someone is big racist mad. Look BOY sit on your tail. Good monkey. When white people understand that it’s okay to not be the best than everything will be okay. Why don’t you like black people? Why is it hard to understand that our skin drinks the sunlight. Why is it hard to understand that the first AA President was scandalfree. Did our people proud. Why can’t you understand that we are rich, we work, we raise families, we marry, we hurt and bleed just like every
      other person. We can go back and forth all night long but at the end of the day. We have more in common than we don’t. Yes black people are better than other races in almost every sport. White people are better in dangerous sports than any other race. Asians are more book smart and actually apply it than any other race. We all have our great qualities and our very bad qualities. I could call you more names but I’m beyond that. I want my African black people
      To create a black Wall sheet in every city. We have about 6 in different states. Be easy and stop being angry with black people, did we do anything to your counterparts? Would you have loved the only legacy for your people
      Was being owned and discriminated against? Racism passed down from father to son and so on. Stealing and benefiting off land because you weren’t smart enough to buy and plant. White people are lazy, that’s a fact. You people are funny about working certain jobs, even raising children. Before
      you comment, think…… your turn

      • Krymson Franklin

        Boy I sure triggered the he’ll out Of your knuckle dragging ass. I didn’t read your rambling comment. I don’t care what you say.

        • La-Chanda Sexclibra Smith

          Do you have anything to add or you just wanted to say or you just wanted to call me names? Yeah you are racist big mad!!! I won’t stoop to your low level because I am above that. So I’m gonna bid you farewell from my juicy black ass to your white no culture having ass!! Good day white boy!!

          • Barbara Miller

            Well said !!!!!!

    • Barbara Miller

      You’re sick and beyond help. Have you ever thought about going to live on another planet !!!

      • Stephanie

        Wow! Some of the comments are even sadder than the story. The amount of hate that exists here is unbelievable. You can’t decide that a person is good or bad, smart or not smart based on the color of their skin. I promise you, if you get to know people, you will find that there are plenty of better reasons to like or dislike a person. Jeeze people, we have so far to go.

        • Barbara Miller

          Excuse me but don’t we still have free speech in this country or did Trump take that away and I missed it !!!

          • Steph

            Absolutely, and the upside is that it’s usually clear where people stand, and the downside is that it’s clear where people stand.

          • Steph

            Barbara, okay, my comment below wasn’t aimed at you, I was talking about the collective responses in this thread.

          • Barbara Miller

            Okay……no problem !!!