An Ann Arbor elementary school sent black fifth graders — and blacks only — on a field trip to meet a black rocket scientist. Parents complained.
The school has created a “Lunch Bunch” program for black students in an attempt to raise achievement. In a letter to parents, Principal Mike Madison wrote:
. . . “as I reflect upon the look of excitement, enthusiasm and energy that I saw in these children’s eyes as they stood in the presence of a renowned African American rocket scientist in a very successful position, it gave the kids an opportunity to see this type of achievement is possible for even them.
“It was not a wasted venture for I know one day they might want to aspire to be the first astronaut or scientist standing on the Planet Mars.
. . . “The intent of our field trip was not to segregate or exclude students as has been reported, but rather to address the societal issues, roadblocks and challenges that our African American children will face as they pursue a successful academic education here in our community.”
When the field trippers returned to class, there were boos from the children who’d been excluded from the trip. Parents say the principal yelled at the class and “belittled a Muslim girl who said she also had experienced racism and discrimination.” The principal said he was just explaining the Lunch Bunch idea.