Franklin High School, Seattle

Franklin High School, Seattle

*A Seattle high school has sparked outrage after making only its African American students pledge that they become better students.

According to KCPQ, the staff at Franklin High came up with the “Keepin’ it 100” covenant, which asked that “African American scholars” pledge to be on time to school, complete high school, and hold themselves to meet high expectations.

Many students at the school found the pledge offensive and unfair.

“Every student counts in the school, I feel like if you gave it to one culture, you should have given it to the others as well,” said junior Niya Thomas.

Niya Thomas of Seattle's Franklin High

Niya Thomas of Seattle’s Franklin High is interviewed by KCPQ

“We were upset because the whole 12th grade class got the paper but it was supposed to be for us,” said senior Bazia Potts. “I know I felt embarrassed as an African American student and most of my peers felt embarrassed as well.”

Potts said she was so offended she and others threw it away.

Seattle Public Schools issued a statement saying it is committed to eliminating opportunity gaps but says the covenant has been discontinued after it proved to be “a distraction” from the original intent to support African American students.

Below is the school district’s full statement:

Seattle Public Schools is committed to eliminating opportunity gaps and accelerating learning for each and every student.

A student covenant was recently created by staff at Franklin High School. After meeting with senior students, Franklin staff discontinued the covenant as it proved to be a distraction from their original intent which is to increase efforts and support for African American students and ensure college readiness.

In addition, a parent/community advisory group is under development to increase the school’s collective wisdom, inform their practices and build capacity to reach the goal of 100% of African American students college ready.

Parents said they appreciate the effort, but believe there’s a better way.

“It felt like these African American students weren’t good enough, that they didn’t somehow make the mark, that part was hurtful because we all want to send a positive message to our students,” said Niya’s mom, Neffertiti Thomas.

Members of the Black Student Union at Franklin High are scheduled to meet with the principal after school on Thursday to discuss the issues.

Seattle Public Schools also says it will put together a parent/community advisory group to try to find a better way to bridge the opportunity gap.

Watch KCPQ’s report below: