A school in the US has apologised after it singled out black students to attend an assembly on the dangers of joining a gang.
Maumelle High School in Arkansas told all African-American students in the ninth grade to attend the talk from a local pastor, who spoke to the teenagers about gangs, violence and drugs.
"[Where] does that leave kids that are mixed? ‘Oh, you know, that’s my other side that’s calling, let me go learn about gang-banging.’ To me, it’s just wrong on every level," Arron Perkins, whose sister attended the assembly, told KATV news. "She felt it was very racist."
The female students were also reportedly asked why they were attracted to gang members.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas sent a letter to the school asking for some more information about the assembly.
"Segregating students by race for a school assembly raises grave concerns for the equal protection of the students present," the letter read. "If this occurred as reported to us, to be called out in a racially segregated fashion and singled out for a lecture on gangs and drugs violated these students' rights to equal protection under the law.."
The school district has since explained the assembly was part of the district’s "court-ordered desegregation efforts which encourage programs and opportunities tailored to minority students", the Washington Times reported.
A spokesperson for the district added: "The Pulaski County Special School District regrets that this inspirational program was not made available to all students and in the future will work to ensure that when outside speakers are brought into a school that all students are included."