This Monday, the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA), the Lubbock NAACP, parents, and students joined together to challenge racial discriminatory practices in Lubbock-Cooper ISD and Slaton ISD.
The groups, represented by attorneys from Ellwanger Law, ACLU of Texas, and the Texas Civil Rights Project, filed an administrative complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The complainants stated that Lubbock-Cooper ISD and Slaton ISD failed to protect Black students experiencing harassment and inappropriately disciplined Black students.
The complaint against Slaton ISD states that the districts sent Black students to the district’s disciplinary alternative educational program (DAEP) without any evidence, a violation of state and federal procedures. The complaint also includes multiple reports from Black students in the district who repeatedly received racially motivated taunts and threats from their peers, while the district consistently failed to adequately address these issues.
The complaint against Lubbock-Cooper ISD describes constant, racially motivated bullying of Black children across the district. Black students reported hearing racial slurs, monkey noises, and the sounds of cracking whips as they walked through the school halls. The white students who were projecting these racist noises were never punished or investigated by the district, even after parents filed frequent and consistent reports to the district.
The complaints filed with the OCR include a number of specific demands of the districts to resolve the reported issues. These demands include revising district anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies, requiring staff to receive training on school discipline practices, and creating systems from student and parent input, among others.
The OCR enforces Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in federally assisted programs, including public schools. The OCR will decide whether to open an investigation into these recent complaints. Notably, the OCR is already reviewing two existing complaints filed by Lubbock-Cooper ISD families in April 2022.