Migrant Students Claim Segregation, Discrimination at Dover City Schools
[Updated 5/22/16 to add superintendent's statement]
by Michelle Faust
An Immigrant Rights advocacy group filed a class action federal Civil Rights lawsuit against a rural eastern Ohio school district Monday. The court documents allege the Dover City School District failed to educate and systematically discriminated against Latino students.
Court documents state Dover school administrators gave inadequate instruction to English Language Learner students and that records tracking which teachers taught those students were falsified. The suit also claims students were actively encouraged to drop out.
“They’re being encouraged not to take classes that will actually have content which will actually count towards their graduation,” says Jeff Stewart, the Director of the Ohio Immigrant Worker Project—the advocacy group is a plaintiff in the case.
Stewart says district administrators displayed an attitude “that these children are just not capable of learning.”
Two parents and two students are named plaintiffs, but the court filing estimates 125 students could have been impacted over a 3 year period ending this school year.
Superintendent Carla Birney released the following statement through her lawyer: “While it is inappropriate for me to discuss any legal matters on the advice of counsel and per our District policy, I can tell you that the alleged quotes attributed to me are absolutely false. The District will continue to see this claim through the proper legal process.”