CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. — A Chesterfield County principal is under fire for separating middle school students by race and gender.
Chesterfield-Ruby Middle School Principal Andrea Hampton told WSOC-TV she wanted to give each group of students a pep talk ahead of state testing.
“It was just a big mess,” parent Darry Lindsey said. “My kids came home really upset about it.”
Many parents are outraged over meetings that happened inside the school. The district admits that the principal met with African-American students as a group as well as an all-girl group and an all-boy group.
In a letter sent home to parents, Hampton said the meetings were designed to help students and “to motivate each group to do their personal best” on a state test, but many people in the community view the meetings as divisive.
Chesterfield-Ruby Middle School issued a response:
“Chesterfield-Ruby Middle School Principal Dr. Andrea Hampton held several meetings with students on May 1 in preparation for the upcoming statewide Palmetto Assessment of State Standards testing.
These meetings consisted of federally identified subgroups of students among whom previous testing had shown achievement gaps on parts of PASS. The purpose of the meetings was to discuss previous test results among the subgroups, to set goals for the upcoming standardized test, and to deliver a “pep talk” to encourage students to do their best on the assessment.
Hampton explained the purpose of the meetings to parents through the use of a letter to parents, the school’s mass phone messaging system and the school’s social media to clarify any misunderstanding about the meetings’ purpose.”