From Staff Reports
Slaton Independent School District, along with Lubbock Cooper ISD are part of two separate Civil Rights complaints filed against the Districts Monday (Dec. 12).
Students and families at both schools, along with the Lubbock NAACP and non-profit Civil Rights Organization Intercultural Development Research Association, filed the complaints to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
The complaints were for alleged violations of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The complaint filed against SISD alleged African American students were being disciplined unfairly, including one sent to the Disciplinary Alternative Educational Program 45 days after defending herself from a student repeatedly calling her a racist epithet. It further stated that African Americans students were “daily subjected to their non-black peers using the ‘N-word’ and other racial slurs, bullying and harassment” and failed to protect them.
The statements referenced DAEP, stating students had to change into “orange jumpsuits” and the students were forced to listen to more discriminatory words.
Both statements referenced DAEP, stating students had to change into “orange jumpsuits” and the students were forced to listen to more discriminatory words.
The complaint also lists a number of issues they want resolved at both Districts.
Slaton ISD released a statement regarding the allegations Tuesday. Superintendent Jim Andrus said the District could not comment on any of the student’s education records under the Family Education Rights Privacy Act, which prevents the District from commenting on specific incidents or situations.
That said, he stated the District was taking the issue seriously. “Slaton Independent School District’s Board of Trustees, along with Superintendent Jim Andrus and his administration, take very seriously the prevention of racial discrimination and racial harassment in the District. As such, the Board of Trustees has adopted Board policies FFH (LEGAL) and (LOCAL), which are anti-discrimination and retaliation policies, and Board Policies FFI(LEGAL) and (LOCAL) regarding the prevention of bullying and policies in which to investigate such complaints,” said Andrus in the statement.
“Additionally, the Board adopted the SISD Student Code of Conduct, which prevents discrimination, bullying and retaliation and the Student Handbook.
“The Board of Trustees expects the Administration to implement and the students to follow these policies.
“The Administration trains its staff to create a culture of racial tolerance and respect. In so doing, the staff is trained in the recognition of racial discrimination and is also trained in implementing discipline when students infringe upon the rights of others by being racially discriminatory, harassing and bullying. Training is given to staff on a multi-year basis.”
Andrus also gave a list of steps they have taken about bullying.
These include assemblies in May regarding expectations to prohibit racial slurs, speech and derogatory language, and two in the fall regarding acceptable behaviors and penalties for the use of racial slurs.
“At the November Board meeting, community members notified the Board of their concerns about potential increases in racial tension and language. Slaton ISD Administration convened and determined that elevated consequences were necessary to ensure a safe environment for all its students,” Andrus added.
“As a result, the consequences were raised for a first incident – five days in in-school suspension (ISS), the second incident, 10 days in in-school suspension (ISS), and a third incident, 30 days in Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP).”
“Slaton ISD has zero tolerance for racial harassment and racial slurs and, once notified of such, to take immediate action with discipline or increasing discipline to stop any such inappropriate actions.”
A recording of the statement can be found on Slaton ISD’s Facebook page. The policy updates can be found on SISD’s page, www.slatonisd.net.