Black valedictorian at Mississippi school endures racism

A black family suing to get their daughter recognized as sole valedictorian of her historically white high school has been devastated by a string of racist hate messages.

Sherry Shepard is suing the school district in the Delta town of Cleveland, Mississippi, alleging her daughter was forced to share the school's top honor with a white girl, despite earning the accolade outright.

But since news of the lawsuit broke she has been hit by a barrage of vile posts attacking her and her daughter Jasmine.

'You n*****s and your self entitled actions make me sick,' wrote Jacob Francis on a Facebook page JusticeForJasmine. 'You shouldn't even be at the same school as white people!'

Jasmine Shepard was the 2016 co-valedictorian at Cleveland High School, but she claims she should have been the sole valedictorian because she was in more AP classes than her counterpart. She was also the first black valedictorian

Jasmine Shepard was the 2016 co-valedictorian at Cleveland High School, but she claims she should have been the sole valedictorian because she was in more AP classes than her counterpart. She was also the first black valedictorian

Heather Bouse shared was the other co-valedictorian at Cleveland High School in 2016. The Shepards believe Jasmine should have been the sole recipient since she was in more AP classes which qualifies her according to the district's rules

Heather Bouse shared was the other co-valedictorian at Cleveland High School in 2016. The Shepards believe Jasmine should have been the sole recipient since she was in more AP classes which qualifies her according to the district's rules

'You shouldn't even be at the same school as white people!' Trolls bombarded Jasmine Shepard online and the family fears for their safety

'You shouldn't even be at the same school as white people!' bombarded Jasmine Shepard online and the family fears for their safety

He ended his foul message: 'Black lives don't mean s***!'

Jasmine responded with her own message. 'Throughout my life, my parents shielded me from (such) behavior…, but now I see that I will have to face this head on,' she wrote.

'You can send me these types of messages but those sentiments will not be returned.'

But still messages keep coming. David St Clair, who said he was Canadian, wrote: 'You're simply butthurt that another student is white and you feel like you deserve special attention simply based on the color of your skin.'

Stephen Bearden called Sherry Shepard a 'thieving racist' in one post and suggested she should be sued for slander in another. 'Feel free to leave Mississippi and live in Iraq or Syria,' he wrote in a third.

And Eric Rowe added: 'Stop playing the "I'M BLACK SO I'M SPECIAL" card and put on your grown-up pants.'

Jameson Oxford Baker II called both Jasmine and Sherry 'racist' and 'b****' in two separate posts. 'Using god to disguise your hatred sent you straight to hell,' he told Sherry.

Sherry and white student Heather Bouse were named co-valedictorians at Cleveland High School in May last year. The school district says they had identical grades.

But the Shepards claim that because Jasmine took more AP classes, the district's own rules meant that she should have won the title outright.

They say the school has never had co-valedictorians before - nor has a black student ever been awarded the honor outright at any time in the school's 110-year history.

The Facebook page JusticeForJasmine was created to support Shepard. However, some use the platform to make racist and intimidating comments. Stephen Bearden wrote: 'Feel free to leave Mississippi and live in Iraq or Syria'

The Facebook page JusticeForJasmine was created to support Shepard. However, some use the platform to make racist and intimidating comments. Stephen Bearden wrote: 'Feel free to leave Mississippi and live in Iraq or Syria'

Both mother and daughter declined to talk to DailyMail.com. 

'There is so much going on right now We have to be concerned for the safety and security of everyone,' Jasmine's aunt, Sheila Shepard, said on the doorstep of their single-story home in Cleveland.

Last month Sherry told the Washington Post: 'A child, when they earn honors, they are entitled to receive them.'

She claimed that Jasmine was told to walk behind co-valedictorian Heather — who Jasmine called 'the sweetest thing' — but she objected and was allowed to walk alongside her.

Cleveland school district said it will fight the Shepards' lawsuit, claiming it maintains a  racially neutral policy and claimed the students has the same GPA even though Jasmine took more AP classes 

Cleveland school district said it will fight the Shepards' lawsuit, claiming it maintains a  racially neutral policy and claimed the students has the same GPA even though Jasmine took more AP classes 

Last year at the time of the graduation, both Jasmine and Heather told CNN that blacks and whites at Cleveland High got on well together. 'We're more progressive than most people see we are,' said Heather. 'We get along much better than they think we do.'

The school district has vowed to fight the Shepards' lawsuit. In a statement, attorney Jamie Jacks called the action 'frivolous.'

'The district has a racially neutral policy regarding the valedictorian honor,' Jacks added. 'The policy is when there is a grade point average tie between two or more students, the students share the valedictorian honor.

'In this case, the district followed its policy. The students involved had identical grade point averages and shared the valedictorian honor.'

School principal Steven Craddock and supervisor Jacquelyn Thigpen are also named in the Shepards' suit which seeks an unspecified monetary

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