OCR Informs McEachin About Five Division-Wide Investigations

August 10, 2017
Press Release

RICHMOND – In response to Congressman McEachin's request for an OCR investigation of the schools in the 4th district and his request for a list of pending investigations, OCR sent a letter delineating the investigations already underway.

“I am saddened that the circumstances are such that civil rights investigations are necessary at this time, but pleased to see that much-needed investigations into the treatment of our students, is underway,” said Congressman Donald McEachin (VA-04). “I have now asked OCR to keep me apprised of the progress and status those important investigations.”

Jackson's letter is a response to Congressman McEachin’s letters sent in March and May, requesting a thorough district-wide investigation into disparities in student treatment, primarily concerning to student discipline.

“I request that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Education keep me closely apprised of the status, progress, and eventual outcome of these important investigations, and that you share your expected timeline for completing them,” wrote Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04). “I am also requesting a formal briefing on your most recent findings for myself and the members of the Fourth Congressional District’s Education Taskforce.”

Immediately after his initial request for the district-wide investigation, Congressman McEachin convened the community-based Education Task Force. The task force meets regularly to attempt to review unjust and unwarranted disparities in student treatment at public schools in the Fourth Congressional District. The task force’s first community forum, “Know Your Rights: Parent Power" will be this Saturday, August 12th at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School.

This forum will have a variety of speakers and workshops and an opportunity for parents to meet various advocates and other professional and experts in the area. “With school about to open, I want to give parents the tools and resources to help their children and to know what their rights are,” added Congressman McEachin.

“I fought against discriminatory student discipline as a Virginia state senator, and I have continued that work in Congress,” said Congressman McEachin. “That is why I also wrote a letter to Secretary DeVos requesting information about how the Department of Education will work with states during the implementation of their ESSA state plans to reduce exclusionary and aversive discipline practices in public schools.”

Families with children currently experiencing disparate treatment in public schools can contact Rep. McEachin’s Richmond district office at (804) 486–1840.

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Full letter text is here and below.

Contact: Jamitress Bowden
(202) 306-0546

 

August 9, 2017

 

The Honorable Candice Jackson

Acting Assistant Secretary

Office of Civil Rights

United States Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue SW

Washington, D.C. 20202

 

Dear Acting Assistant Secretary Jackson,

Thank you for your response, dated July 26, to the two letters I sent to Secretary DeVos requesting an investigation into all documented disparities in the treatment of students who attend the public schools of Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District. I am pleased to see that the serious issues I identified are being investigated, and that your office is taking steps to address disparate, discriminatory practices in our schools.

Mistreatment of our children is completely unacceptable – all students deserve to be treated equally and fairly. I request that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Education keep me closely apprised of the status, progress, and eventual outcome of these important investigations, and that you share your expected timeline for completing them. I am also requesting a formal briefing on your most recent findings for myself and the members of the Fourth Congressional District’s Education Taskforce, a community-based committee comprised of 15 education professionals, administrators, parents, attorneys, pediatricians, and child advocates. The task force was convened to address the documented unjust and unwarranted disparities in student treatment at public schools in the Fourth Congressional District. On behalf of the many who are deeply invested in this longstanding issue, it is critical that I stay informed of new developments to ensure that the problems I have identified are fully addressed in a timely fashion.

I appreciate your consideration. I look forward to your updates and our formal briefing. 

Sincerely,

 

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