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Latino Daily News

Thursday May 12, 2011

School District in North Carolina Accused of Discrimination

School District in North Carolina Accused of Discrimination

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A North Carolina school district has been accused of discriminating against Latino students, and formal complaint has been filed with the U.S. Department of Education.

The complaint, filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), followed a letter sent to Durham Public Schools from the center. The letter stated that Latino students do not “feel welcome” in DPS, which is around 20 percent Latino. When the center received a “vague” and seemingly uncaring response from DPS it countered by contacting federal officials.

Though based in Montgomery, Alabama, the SPLC filed suit on behalf of Durham school district’s more than 6,000 students and families with limited English proficiency.

SPLC said that in one instance, a teacher at Durham’s Northern High School slammed a Latino student against the wall and told the student, “Go back to your own country.” The center also said another teacher fired a racial slur at a Latino student. The district is also being scolded for having only three Spanish-language interpreters.

Pilar Rocha, director of Durham’s largest immigrant organization, El Centro Hispano, said she is not surprised that the district is under investigation for discrimination, considering the number of complaints she’s heard from the parents of the schools’ students.