A Houston TV news station accused a nearby school district of creating racial controversy with a meeting for black students on the morning of Nov. 12, but the school said it was a routine meeting aimed at improving academic performance.
Reporting on the meeting, an anchor from Houston-based ABC13 said the Klein Oak School District was "stirring up problems where they aren't any" by inviting only black students to the meeting. One of the parents interviewed in the news station's segment said she "had some concerns" about the meeting.
"I asked my child not to attend the meeting," Latanya Rhodes, a parent whose child is enrolled in Harris County school, told ABC13.
But the event was part of "a series of small student group meetings" organized to help "sub-groups" close achievement gaps, the school district wrote in a statement. The district says it's required by the state to identify struggling groups of students, and in addition to the school's African-American population, faculty meets with "economically disadvantaged students" and kids who were learning English as their second language.
Attendance was voluntary, the school added. The meeting agenda included an open discussion on improving grades and a talk from a motivational speaker.
"The bottom line is when there is a need, Klein Oak seeks to meet that need," the district's statement read. "All students at Klein Oak are valued and their opinions are important."
Klein Oak High is a Blue Ribbon school that serves a part of unincorporated Harris County, about 30 miles north of Houston. Black students comprise about 10 percent of the high school's 3,696 kids, according to the school's website.
Another parent, Opal Davis, told ABC13 that she attended the Nov. 12 meeting and understood what school officials were trying to accomplish.
"They want to make sure that the students are not being ignored and that they do have a voice and that they do have opportunities here to take advantage of," Davis said.