By: Irene Lax, Senior Counsel in G&E’s Civil Rights Practice Group
The Madison County School District in Kentucky recently settled a lawsuit to remedy racism after an investigation by the DOJ found that school administrators failed to respond to reports of hostile racism in the form of racial epithets by a Kentucky high school student and her family, as well as many other complaints of racist incidents in the district.
The investigation uncovered numerous accounts of racial harassment of Black and multi-racial students, according to the DOJ. The school district failed to “consistently or reasonably address the harassment, ” which led to denying Black and multi-racial students of equal opportunity and access to the district’s educational resources. The district’s inaction indicated that the district either condoned the damaging behavior or simply would not take any action to help the victims.
The settlement requires institutional change within the district, including adjustments to its anti-discrimination policies, updates to its reporting system for complaints, and adding training for employees to help them identify and respond to instances of racism. The district will also hire three employees to oversee racial discrimination complaints and administer the racism training.
“This agreement will create the institutional changes needed to keep Black and multi-racial students safe and to provide them with a supportive educational environment,” said Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s civil rights division.
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