"Unity" meeting invites only minority group to attend

A meeting Thursday morning at Klein Oak High School has a lot of people questioning whether school officials segregated their students.

The meeting was meant to help those who were scoring on the lower end academically, but only black students were invited. The meeting focused on how to be successful academically, and included motivational speakers.

“I was amazed by it, at first, I didn't seem that interested in it, but afterwards, it kind of changed my perception on it,” said Justin Thornton, a student who attended the meeting.

But what was upsetting to some, is that the school singled out black students as the only ones allowed to attend this meeting.

“I don't think the meeting should have been only African-American. I think they could have split it up to make it more equal,” said Trenton Dickerson, who also attended the Unity meeting

A few parents are accusing the school, saying this is a new form of segregation, but not all students felt that way.

“I don't feel like they were just targeting us. We're, like, the lowest of minorities so they want to talk to us about life choice in academics and stuff. They're trying to help us. I don't see anything going against us about it,” said Whorton.

The school district said in a statement that there are certain groups that they want to work with specifically to close the achievement gap, and black students were one of those groups.

Klein Oak High School is about 50% white, 30% Hispanic and 9.7% black.

Klein ISD has released a statement that reads:

Texas campus principals are charged with improving the academic performance of all students. They specifically must look at improving the performance of all sub-groups as defined by the state of Texas. In studying the test data, the Klein Oak principal found a need to work to close the achievement gaps in three sub-groups: economically disadvantaged students, English Language Learners and African American students.

The school has been hosting a series of small student group meetings within these sub-groups to address their academic needs. These small group meetings led to great open dialogue resulting in a request from the African American students to hold the meeting today.

All African American students were invited to today’s celebration meeting, termed Unity, Understanding the Needs and Interest of Today’s Youth but they were not required to attend. Topics revolved around how they can be successful academically and included motivational speakers followed by open dialogue. The intent of the meeting was to improve the academic performance of the students.

Klein Oak High School’s philosophy is about servicing the students. Other examples of group meetings to meet student needs include holding an orientation for students coming to Klein Oak from other countries. The bottom line is when there is a need, Klein Oak seeks to meet that need. All students at Klein Oak are valued and their opinions are important.