EXCLUSIVE: Biden Admin To Investigate School District That Allegedly Created Race-Based Student Groups
Reagan Reese on March 22, 2023
The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) opened an investigation into an Oregon school district that allegedly created race-based student groups, according to a letter obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Parents Defending Education (PDE), a group focused on parental rights, filed a civil rights complaint in January alleging to the OCR that Ashland School District allegedly created exclusive groups specifically for students of color. The OCR notified PDE in a letter that it would be opening an investigation into the school district on Monday.
“We are glad to learn that the Department of Education has opened an investigation into one of our allegations against Ashland School District,” Nicole Neily, president of PDE, told the DCNF. “Student affinity groups like those offered at both Ashland High School and Ashland Middle School are clear violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition of race-based discrimination.”
The school district allegedly hosts several affinity groups including the “Black Student Union,” for students who identify as black or African American, PDE’s complaint stated. Ashland School District also allegedly created a “Latinx Student Union,” a group aimed at creating “a safe space for students of Latin/Hispanic descent.”
A job position for an “Elementary Student Affinity Group Advisor” at Ashland School District was allegedly posted which would require an individual to coordinate and lead race-based groups, according to the complaint.
Though the OCR will investigate the alleged creation of the race-based groups, the government agency dismissed PDE’s complaint that the elementary school was creating affinity group programming, the letter stated.
From October 2021 to September 2022, the OCR has documented a record high number of discrimination complaints across the nation’s schools; the number of complaints almost doubled from the year prior, with nearly 19,000 filed. A majority of complaints pertain to disabilities, race and sex.
“Though the Department of Education has chosen not to investigate our second allegation, it is clear that if the elementary were to complete the hiring process for a student affinity groups advisors and implement an affinity group model, that would also need to be investigated,” Neily told the DCNF.
Ashland School District did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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