Cumberland County controversy mounts over Black History Club stoles

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Some African American students are upset by the Cumberland County school board's actions.

"I don't think this should be swept under the rug or anything," said Seventy-First high school senior Justice Sharp.

Sharp is the Vice President of the Black History Club. He joined to better educate himself on black history and hoped to wear the kente cloth stole at graduation.

"I feel like it's a prideful thing to be highly decorated at graduation," said Sharp. "Totally taking away anything we'd be able to wear seems like a punishment."

Justice and a group of others saw the story ABC11 reported last week on the school board's decision to buy chords for the Native American students to wear during graduation.

"I found it extremely discriminatory that you would allow one group to wear there's and not others," said community activist John Miner.

Months ago, Miner went before the school board and asked them to reconsider their decision. He claims it yielded no results, only hurt feelings.

Cumberland County school officials told ABC11 the Indian Education Department is recognized district-wide and falls under a federal program. The Black History Club does not.

"It's heartbreaking that it's still going on," said Bernard Muhammad, who mentors students in the Black History Club.

As graduation nears, frustrations continue to mount toward the principal at Seventy-First high school who chooses not to give reasons as to why students are not allowed to wear stoles.

"Had the NACCP, big churches, preachers, bishops stood behind the Black History Club and supported the children, we would have had the same results," said Muhammad.
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