Feds fault N.Y. school district's response to race bullying

May 29, 2013 at 12:29 PM

ALBANY, N.Y., May 29 (UPI) -- A New York school district says it has reached an agreement with U.S. education officials who charged it improperly handled a bullied biracial student.

Parents of the bullied student had complained to the U.S. Department of Education that Albany school officials removed their daughter from class but did not discipline the offending students, the Albany Times Union reported Wednesday.

White students in her class repeatedly harassed the eighth grade honors student in March 2012, according to the parents' complaint. The students donned Ku Klux Klan hoods and asked how much her parents had paid to adopt her, the complaint alleged.

When students threatened her for being a "snitch," the girl became so frightened she hid in the school's bathroom and called her parents to come get her, the parents said.

School officials volunteered to solve the problem by promoting the girl into the ninth grade three months before the end of the school year.

The Department of Education ruled school officials failed to recognize that race-based harassment had occurred, that the harassers were not appropriately disciplined, and that the district did not provide a viable remedy.

The district now must offer counseling to any black student at the school during 2011-2012 who complained about racial harassment. All staff members and new students at the school will receive racial discrimination instruction.

Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard denied any wrongdoing by the district in a letter to federal officials, but agreed to the terms to resolve the dispute.

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Topics: Ku Klux Klan
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