Indiana school district bused only black third-graders to tour local colleges

Several parents in the school district called the field trips exclusionary and discriminatory.

An Indiana school district planned a series of field trips for only black third-graders to tour local colleges.

The first field trip on Thursday was to Ivy Tech Community College.

An Indiana public school district segregated elementary field trips last week when administrators included only African-Americans on the college introduction tour.

According to ABC 57, South Bend Community Schools Corporation has planned a series of field trips to three local colleges for black third-graders in seven school districts. The excursions began last week with a trip to Ivy Tech Community College.

Dr. G. David Moss, the director for the African-American student-parent services with the South Bend Community Schools Corporation, told ABC 57 that he wanted the third-grade students to begin to think of themselves attending college.

“I was hired to look at the issues facing African-American kids in the South Bend Community Schools Corporation and my job specifically says that I need to develop programs and develop strategies to help these kids and their families become more successful academically,” Moss said.

However, many families, including those with children who can attend the field trips, said the field trips were exclusionary and discriminatory in nature.

“I feel like all kids should be going,” Deirdra Mullings, a mother of a child on the field trips, told ABC 57.

“It creates a double standard,” Kelley Garing told the news outlet.

In 2012, 34.5 percent of students in the South Bend Community Schools Corporation were African-American. White students made up 37.1 percent of the school population that same year.

The students—and their parents if they wish to attend—will meet with African-American college students who, according to Moss, will “[model] the idea that as a black person, college is a great place.”

According to an email sent to parents and obtained by ABC 57, students will also participate in activities, including one where students will read “mindset messages” aloud, printed on green and yellow beach balls. Another activity will center on “simple vignettes” such as: recognizing fixed and growth mindset messages, the importance of exercising the brain like a muscle, and teaching that everyone can grow their brain.

“It was never meant to be exclusionary,” Moss, who was hired in 2013, said. “It was only meant to support and give these kids what they need to think positively about themselves and their future.”

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UPDATE: According to the South Bend Tribune, the field trips have been postponed for the time being. A district spokesperson told the newspaper that the field trips had not been vetted by the superintendent, as is normally policy. Campus Reform will continue to follow the story and publish more updates when they become available.