Editor’s Note: Insensitive language frequently used in the mid-20th Century is included in this story.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that racial desegregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Some school districts were not swayed by Brown v. Board of Education and found ways to discriminate.
Mexican-American students in Driscoll, Texas, were purposely held back to avoid “retarding” the white students. Students with Spanish surnames were made to take first grade for three years. It didn’t matter how fluent they were in English, or if English was their primary language. As a result, Mexican-American students were graduating from high school in their early 20s.