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Latino Daily News

Thursday May 30, 2013

ALLEGED:  Latino Students Discriminated Against in Louisiana Head Start Programs

ALLEGED:  Latino Students Discriminated Against in Louisiana Head Start Programs

Photo: Jefferson Parish Lousiana

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The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLU) and other civil rights organizations are alleging head start centers in the Jefferson Parish in Louisiana are discriminating against Latino families.

Apparently only Latino families are being asked to provide proof of citizenship to enroll in the federally funded pre-school program states a complaint filed by the SPLU.  The government program does not have a citizenship requirement it simply requires proof of residence, income and proof of child’s age.

SPLU is representing several Latino families that were denied the opportunity to apply to their local Head Start program and/or “were discouraged” from applying because they lacked citizenship papers.  Furthermore the complain alleges:  “Head Start personnel refused to accept the applications of these families without proof of Louisiana photo IDs, despite the fact that they provided proof of Jefferson Parish residency by way of utility bills.”

This is the second time that Jefferson Parish’s treatment of Latinos getting national attention.  Last year the Department of Justice and Education Department opened up investigations into widespread discrimination against Latino students enrolled in the public school system there.

13 percent of the population in Jefferson Parish is Hispanic.  This parish encompassing most of the outlying suburban area of New Orleans and is the largest metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana.  Jefferson Parish has seen its Latino community more than double over the last 10 years, even while the overall population dropped slightly.