Since the days of Brown v the Board of Education, school integration has  been a sign of the new era of racial justice in America. Unfortunately, more than sixty years after the momentous decision, racial discrimination still occurs in schools throughout the nation.

Most recently, in Tacoma Washington, University Place School District has settled a lawsuit where three black students complained of the frequent and severe racial discrimination they suffered by the hands of the other students and teachers. The lawsuit documents instances of racial name-calling, discriminatory grading policies and  a general hostile learning environment.

One student detailed how he would often come to class with the word “nigger” written on his desk. He would erase the racial slur, but the next day someone would re-write the slur.  Another student discussed an instance where the schools sign language teacher had written her home address on the board. When one student remarked that she should be careful because the if the students knew where she lived they may egg her house. The teacher responded “no one would do that except for (the black student) because he’s black.” That same teacher was also under investigation for discriminatory grading policies, although she has stated no evidence has been uncovered.

Racial slurs cause a high level of anxiety in the school’s black students, they create a situation where the focus of the school day is survival and not learning. However,  the most concerning allegations are those involving the school’s discriminatory grading policies. Because students grades factor into what universities the students can attend, they are often the deciding factor in a student’s future. Discrimination in grading policies have more than just an emotional effect on students. One of the students’ parents had become concerned when she noticed a large amount of her son’s homework assignments were marked as missing, assignments that she was sure he had done. In an act of parental care, the student’s mother would electronically scan her son’s completed assignments and email them to the teacher before the assignments were due. This was her method of ensuring that the assignments were turned in. Strangely, her son’s assignments continued to be marked as missing.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals from being excluded from participation in, denied benefits of or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. This often includes schools. Here, University Place is a public school district, charged with protecting the rights of each of its students. When the black student’s complaints of  discriminatory treatment fell on deaf ears, the school became complacent in the racial discrimination. Further, if the school’s teachers were participating in discriminatory grading practices, the school is directly in violation of Title VI. The many instances of racial slurs, discriminatory grading and general harassment based on the students race prompted the school to settle the case for $450,000.

Racial discrimination in schools contributes to the vast achievement gap between white and minority students. The only way to close this gap is by staying vigilant and stamping out racial discrimination at every turn. The Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC, has attorneys well versed in racial discrimination claims. For example, John Luke Jr., Esq. has years of experience litigating claims based on racial discrimination. If you feel like you have been discriminated against based on your race, please give our experienced discrimination attorney’s at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC, a call, toll-free, at 877-469-5297 for a free consultation about your possible claim.

Sexual Harassment Attorney

If you have ever experienced sexual harassment in a major male-dominated corporation in New York City, Miami, New Jersey, or Philadelphia, contact a sexual harassment lawyer in New York City, Miami, New Jersey, or Philadelphia at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation to discuss your possible claim. Our attorneys are available to review your claims and prepare a solid case to recover the damages and justice you deserved.

About Derek Smith

Attorney Derek T. Smith is an experienced sexual harassment & discrimination law litigator who has particular experience in the areas of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, civil rights litigation, employment law and civil litigation.

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