Investigators from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights will visit the Bastrop School District next week, gathering evidence on allegations of racial discrimination.
It has been two years since a Bastrop Middle School principal gathered all of the school’s black eighth-graders in the library and blamed them for the school’s bad test scores. The principal was reassigned and later retired, but the sense lingers among some that the district isn’t as vigilant as it should be in cases of racial insensitivity or discrimination.
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Investigators from the federal Department of Education will investigate six allegations:
- That during the spring 2011 football season, a Bastrop High School coach yelled racial slurs and bullied freshmen football players, including telling Hispanic students to “Run like you’re crossing the border,” and telling another student to “choke himself,” according to the complaint.
- That former Bastrop Middle School Principal Teri Watson discriminated against African-American students on Feb. 8, 2010, by calling them to a meeting and blaming them for the school’s test scores.
- That the middle school discriminated against African-American and Hispanic students by not informing them of the National Honor Society application process and by “passing a list of ‘A’ and ‘B’ Honor Roll students to team and teachers to eliminate from consideration students they believed to be disrespectful, have attitude or not be a good role model,” according to the complaint.
- That the middle school librarian canceled student elections and appointed students to offices to prevent minority students from being elected.
- That African-American students at Bastrop High School were disproportionately expelled from school.*
- That a teacher at Bastrop Intermediate School said, “All black people are ghetto,” and she didn’t assist African-American students in her class.
*Statistics released Friday by the district show no African-American students have been expelled in the past two years, though over that time, more Latino students than white students were expelled. Those statistics show the district has expelled more white students than African-American students in each of the past five school years.