A Utah school district ignored hundreds of racial harassment complaints against Black and Asian American students, DOJ says

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Justice Department detailed disturbing pattern Davis School District in Farmington, Utah, in a report and settlement agreement released this week. The agency had been investigating the school district since July 2019.

Black students were called the n-word, said “you are my slave” by other students and reported that their skin was dirty or “looked like feces” at times. Meanwhile, Asian American students were abused and asked to “go back to China”, the report said.

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According to the Justice Department, the school district had knowledge of a hostile environment and documents show a record of at least 212 incidents involving black students being called the n-word in 27 schools between 2015-2020.

But district officials often ignored complaints, dismissed them, and sometimes “told black and Asian-American students not to be so sensitive or made excuses to harass students that they’re trying to be racist.” Were not doing it,” the DOJ report states.

Granthshala has reached out to the school district for comment. Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams said Granthshala affiliate KSTU The district feels “sorry to any students who felt this was not the place.”
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“We have a lot of work to do. We’re not happy with what we read. We’d like to think it’s not us but us. We have to work really hard,” Williams told KSTU.

As a result of the investigation, the Davis School District has signed an agreement with the Department of Justice. The district has agreed to a number of changes, including the creation of more training for employees to investigate and respond to racial harassment, the creation of a new equal opportunity department, and an electronic system for receiving and managing reports of racial harassment and discrimination. development is included.

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“The widespread racial harassment and other forms of racial discrimination in public schools violate the Constitution’s most basic promise of equal protections,” said Kristen Clark, assistant attorney general for the agency’s Civil Rights Division. “This agreement will help generate the institutional change needed to keep Black and Asian-American students safe. We look forward to showing Davis to our students and the school community that it will no longer tolerate racial discrimination in its schools.” ”

Teachers and staff decided not to interfere

According to the DOJ, the students told investigators that staff members ridiculed students in front of their peers, retaliated against those reporting harassment and supporting stereotypes.

A complaint reviewed by the DOJ indicated that a teacher picked a Latino student and taunted him for working in a taco truck, even when the student was not employed there.

Findings show that many teachers admitted to investigators that they heard students use racist adjectives but did not report it to administrators.

About 73 thousand students are enrolled in the district. Black and Asian American students each represent approximately 1% of the student population.

Investigators found that black students were disciplined more harshly than white students for similar crimes in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years.

“In many cases, black students were kept out of the classroom through suspension, in or out of school, while their white peers got a convention,” the DOJ report said.

There have been allegations of discrimination in the district in the past. In 2019, it settled a civil rights lawsuit filed by the family of a fraternity student who was dragged by a school bus. The boy’s family alleged that the then bus driver locked the vehicle door on the student’s backpack and dragged him for nearly 150 feet because of his “racial animosity” towards mixed-caste students.

The complaint cited at least two prior incidents before September 2017 involving other students.

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Credit : www.cnn.com

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