AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A school principal said no white children were allowed at an after-school tutoring program, and now some parents call it discrimination.
The principal at Mission Viejo Elementary in Aurora sent a letter telling parents the program is only for students of color. Parents CBS4 talked with said they were shocked to see, in this day and age, what they consider to be segregation.
“I was infuriated. I didn’t understand why they would include or exclude certain groups,” said parent Nicole Cox, who is white.
Cox’s 10-year-old daughter needs tutoring. After receiving the notice, other parents complained to the school’s principal, Andre Pearson.
“We have come so far in all of these years to show everybody that everyone is equal, that everyone should be treated equally … this is a form of bullying,” Cox said.
Before Cox could complain to the school, Pearson contacted her directly. His voicemail only seemed to reinforce the segregated tutoring idea.
“This is Andre Pearson. It’s focused for and designed for children of color, but certainly, if we have space for other kids who have needs, we can definitely meet those needs,” Pearson told Cox in the voicemail.
Pearson declined to comment on camera, but a district spokesperson claims it was all just a big misunderstanding.
“I think what the answer is, is that he made a mistake,” Tustin Amole with the Cherry Creek School District told CBS4.
The new tutoring program was started by parents of minority students to help bridge the achievement gap.
The district is now clarifying that the program wasn’t meant to segregate anyone.
“But we have had lots of students sign up for the tutoring. Many of them are white and we will be accepting all of them,” Amole said.
“I just want everybody to be treated equally,” Cox said.
The new tutoring program began Wednesday. CBS4 was told a letter would be going out to parents to clarify the error that was made.