By Ashley Conroy - email
BRANDON, MS (WLBT) - Scotty Roundtree is a senior at Brandon High School, he plays in the band and used to be involved with ROTC.
His family moved to Mississippi eight years ago from Nevada, and it was then he says the school wanted him to declare a race.
"They said well we can't just put that in our system we have to have it specified, what do you want to be called and I said other," Roundtree said.
He has half siblings that are both black and white, his room is decorated black and white, and he has friends that are bi-racial like him.
"A lot of kids call me black because of my dad. And they say you are what your dad is, and I say no because what about my mom and what about her side."
Mother Cindy Roundtree says for the past several years, Brandon high school has declared her son black because of records. She says for several years she tried to change this and this year they declared her son white.
"And they said okay, we changed him to white. And I said that's not okay either, and I said okay can I choose both and they said no, there's only one spot you have to be black or white," Roundtree said.
This issue goes beyond the Rankin County School District as this criteria is based off of the same criteria listed under the state department's web site.
The option are Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American, or White, but students cannot choose both, nor is "other" an option.
"If we are keeping track for some mathematical purpose, then I think it should reflect what is really going on out there," Scotty's mother said.
The Mississippi Department of Education says that federal guidelines for categorizing race will change next, and the state will follow suit, so students can declare an ethnicity.
For Scotty Roundtree, he says either way he's proud of his biracial background.
"I just feel like we should be able to have a say in what we are. And there should be more choices to fill and you shouldn't just be one race."
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