Segments in this Video

Separate and Unequal (02:01)


Each of Nikki Dangerfield's sons ride different buses every morning to attend schools all over Baton Rouge. She feels the public school system has helped her children, by exposing them to different cultures and economic backgrounds

Mismanaged Schools (02:08)

Norman Browning, chairman of the City of St. George Incorporation Effort, created a petition to incorporate a suburb of Baton Rouge which is more affluent and white. Lionel Rainey, spokesman for the cause, explains why citizens are frustrated. They need 18,000 signatures on the petition in order to be placed on the ballot.

Several Suburbs Trying to Incorporate (02:48)

While the goal is to create smaller community driven schools, they would be less racially and ethnically diverse. Professor Gary Orfield describes how the Supreme Court began to regress on desegregation in 1991. Belinda Davis vows to fight the incorporation of St. George, and explains how one large school district is better than smaller municipalities.

Arguing Against Division (02:27)

Melvin "Kip" Holden, mayor of Baton Rouge, opposes St. George's incorporation effort. He describes how the parish needs to stick together and the city relies on the increased tax revenue from the more affluent boroughs of St. George to fund the public schools. He explains that because of programs like busing, he was introduced to broader themes, people, and was able to achieve more in his life.

Woodlawn High (01:38)

When founded in 1949, students lived nearby and were all white. In 2014, 60 percent of students were African American. School systems are struggling in Baton Rouge and the state has partially taken over— Principal Daniel Edwards is proud that the school achieved a C rating and is hoping to attain a better grade soon.

Education and Discipline Issues at Woodlawn High (03:18)

Volunteer football coach Browning explains why he believes busing leads to a lack of community and stresses its importance. In 2013, 61 arrests occurred on school property, and fights were filmed for YouTube.

Different Schools for Different Needs (02:24)

Dangerfield explains how each of her son's schools caters to his needs and personality. Aaron wants to go to Woodlawn High and upon calling for information was informed he could not attend because it was incorporating.

Incorporation Limits Choices (02:16)

Edwards describes how attached he has grown to his students and how sad it would be for kids to not be able to express their own opinions on where to attend school. Sen. Mack "Bodi" White explains why he is against busing. Rutledge discusses why caucasian families left and how that hurt the school system.

9,000 Signatures at the End of 2013 (02:07)

Citizens argue the ramifications of incorporation. St. George proponents complain that the city is overestimating the financial repercussions, but a 2013 study from LSU determined it would cause a huge annual deficit for Baton Rouge.

Reverend C.L Bryant Addresses St. George (02:05)

Viewers watch portions of a rally for the incorporation if St. George. Davis, who attended, explains it is all about lack of empathy and segregating from poorer income brackets.

Racial Inequality (01:51)

Patricia Haynes Smith and White argue the pros and cons of Incorporation and busing. Dangerfield describes how St George's incorporation effort would be taking resources from those who need it the most.

Incorporation Status Updates (01:42)

The city council passed a measure to block incorporation, St. George vowed to fight the measure, Edwards was reassigned to another school as an assistant principal, and Aaron Dangerfield decided not to attend Woodlawn.

Omarina's Story (03:16)

Attending the Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts, Omarina was shocked at the change from her 2 bedroom apartment in the Bronx. Middle school was trying for her, she was evicted and shuttled between family members' apartments. When she reconnected with her father after several years, he had a stroke and passed. Her grades suffered from her personal struggles.

Preventing High School Drop Outs (02:10)

Robert Belfanz created a massive study to analyze at risk indicators. He determined that if a child entering the sixth grade is absent more than 20 percent, fails math or English, or receives an unsatisfactory grade in a core course, there is a 75 percent chance they will drop out in high school.

Omarina Identified as At-Risk (01:41)

Principal Delores Peterson implemented Belfanz' statistics. Every week statistics were collected about each child and reviewed by a counselor. If the news is troublesome a counselor is assigned and intervention planned.

Omarina's Intervention (02:05)

Catherine Miller, Omarina's homeroom teacher, describes how she approached Omarina and formed a plan to keep her in school and functioning. She bought her a bus pass, books, and helped instill confidence in her. Belfanz discusses how important it is to shepherd at-risk youth.

Omarina's Brother (02:26)

Omarlin went into the streets, and by the end of his 8th grade year he had no plans to go to high school. Omarina reflects that without the support she received she would be on the streets as well. In short time, she had perfect attendance, high grades, and was encouraged to apply to some of the best prep schools.

I Could Be My Brother (01:49)

Belfanz explains how all schools can use his system, but they may need to recruit additional help. Omarina was accepted at nine prep schools and decides to attend Brooks.

Transitioning To Brooks (03:06)

Omarina does feel out of place, but she understands that other students are curious and comments about her ethnicity or background are not coming from a negative place. She struggles academically and socially but she relies on her support system to help her through.

Determined to Succeed (01:56)

By relying on her support system, Omarina feels she has grown, widened her perspective and cannot imagine regressing to the girl she was in middle school. She is now caught up, getting good grades, and enjoying her sophomore year.

Unexpected Call (01:55)

Omarina receives news that Omarlin had been shot and returns home. Guidance counselor Taylor Ware discusses how Omarina struggles with the opportunities she has been given and and her brothers reality.

Visiting the Bronx (03:11)

Omarina hopes her brother knows she cares. Belfranz explains the importance of reform efforts in high school— it is hard to turn lives around, but it is possible. Watch an update on Omarina and Omarlin.

Credits: Separate and Unequal/Omarina's Story (02:42)

Credits: Separate and Unequal/Omarina's Story

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Separate and Unequal/Omarina's Story

3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Separate and Unequal - Sixty years after the Supreme Court declared separate schools for black and white children unconstitutional, FRONTLINE examines a case in Louisiana that illustrates the growing race and class divide in American schools and the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education. The East Baton Rouge Parish School District was forced to desegregate its schools in 1981 after a 25-year legal fight. But now, frustrated over the district's many low-performing schools, a group of mostly white, middle-class parents and business leaders are trying to break away and form a new city with its own separate schools, mirroring similar breakaway movements in cities around the country that critics say are reversing hard-fought civil rights gains. If the plan succeeds, the new district is expected to be more affluent and white, and will leave behind a population of mostly black students from low-income families. Omarina's Story - FRONTLINE continues to examine a groundbreaking effort to stem the dropout crisis in America's high-poverty schools based on the theory that the make-or-break moment for preventing kids from dropping out of high school actually happens in middle school. The film follows Omarina Cabrera, a young girl from the Bronx. Distributed by PBS Distribution. 

Length: 57 minutes

Item#: BVL114701

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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