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OCR: Office for Civil Rights
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Success Stories : Addressing Racial Harassment

A parent of a high school student complained that her son and another African American student were being racially harassed by other students. These students used racial slurs and epithets about these two students and about her. The district is 97 percent white. The district's student handbook did not refer to any disciplinary sanctions for students who commit actions of racial discrimination, including racial harassment and name-calling. In addition, the complainant said that the school did not discipline the students involved nor did it adequately address her concerns. As a result of the OCR's intervention, the school district agreed to modify its racial harassment policy and establish a community forum to address this issue and others. The district will also take steps to learn how to recruit minority teachers successfully by working with the area Desegregation Assistance Center and an affirmative action cooperative.

Racial Epithets Addressed

Racial epithets scrawled on school walls were not removed, resulting in a protest by the district's African American students, who were arrested by police for inciting a riot. In this case, the state education department and the United States Department of Justice, as well as the OCR, investigated. The district took action to ensure better understanding between races, as well as making changes in curriculum and hiring practices, and adding a mentoring program for African American students.


 
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Last Modified: 03/09/2005