Chalk it up to another example of public school integration gone wrong.

A student at Burnsville High School in Minnesota made a sign asking a girl to be his homecoming date. This may have been a sweet gesture if the sign didn’t say “You may be picking cotton but I’m picking you for homecoming.”

It even had cotton balls attached for an extra level of detail. The student asking for the date is a white male. The target of his…um…affection is a black female.

The incident was posted to Facebook with a message saying “this happened at Burnsville HIgh School. America is f*cking great now!!! smdh.” It immediately went viral and attracted a slew comments from outraged readers.

Here’s a snapshot of the post:

Two things are surprising here. First, the smile of the black girl who seems oddly ok with the sign (indeed, she’s holding it for the picture).

Second, she said yes.

What are these schools doing to our black children? Sounds like someone needs a homeschool lesson on history, race, and sex in America.

Burnsville High’s principal, Dave Helke, issued a perfunctory statement to calm parents and community members.

“We are aware of a deeply offensive posting placed by an individual on social media that is causing concern among our students, families, staff members and community….I want to make it clear that the posting does not align with the values of Burnsville High School and Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191,” he wrote.

The school is 54% white, 18% black, 15% LatinX, and 9% Asian.

The racial gap in student proficiency between white students and black in math is 28 points. In reading the gap between black and white students is a whopping 43 points.

The poor kid who made the sign wasn’t ready for the public blowback. He posted an apology saying “I made the poster as a joke between my close friend and I and many took it the wrong way and were offended, I’m sincerely sorry, no intentions were ever to offended [sic] her or anyone of color it was made as a joke.”

In years past the Burnsville school district collected nearly $2 million in integration aid meant to promote interracial contact. This probably isn’t the outcome state officials would hope for.




Chris Stewart is the Chief Executive Officer of Education Post, a media project of the Results in Education Foundation. He is a lifelong activist and 20-year supporter of nonprofit and education-related causes. Stewart has served as the director of outreach and external affairs for Education Post, the executive director of the African American Leadership Forum (AALF), and an elected member of the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education.


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