NowThis Reports
S3 E5

How These Black Students Fought Modern-Day Segregation

In 2018, students at Block High School protested the unacceptable conditions and education disparities in the rural Louisiana school district. 17-year-old Shir’Cold Bowman led the protest and NowThis covered their plight and course of action. Conditions at the high school, where a majority of the seniors are Black, were noticeably worse than those at nearby Harrisonburg High School, where the majority of the class is white. After NowThis publicized Block High School’s conditions, its principal and the superintendent resigned.

Bowman says she was offered help and scholarships after her story was shared around, because she’d previously stated that she felt unprepared for college. Various groups also sent donations to the school.

The high school’s athletic coach Benny Vault encouraged the students to speak out prior to the protest being organized.

“We got a new superintendent, we got a new principal,” he said. “Makes the kids’ attitudes change, just the feeling that they know that there’s some people out there that hear their voice.”

The NAACP showed up at the latest hearing in March to ask Judge Dee D. Drell for permission to represent students and families of Block High School, which he granted. As for a possible path forward, the mayor of Jonesville says consolidating the school district is the only option.