Feds, school leaders discuss Wake schools' civil rights probe

From staff reportsDecember 7, 2010 

— RALEIGH -- U.S. Department of Education officials met this morning with Wake County school leaders to discuss their federal civil rights investigation of the school system.

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is investigating a complaint from the state and national NAACP accusing the school system of racial bias in student assignment and in student discipline. Federal officials discussed the scope of the review with interim Superintendent Donna Hargens, school board attorney Ann Majestic and school board members.

The NAACP argues that the school board's elimination of the socioeconomic diversity policy and the reassignment of more than 100 minority students from Garner High School to Southeast Raleigh High School this year were examples of racial discrimination.

Members of the former school board majority insist there is no valid basis to the complaint, which accuses Wake of violating Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. If federal officials rule against Wake, the school district could lose federal funding.

Today's meeting takes place as school administrators are set to present this afternoon the 2011-12 student reassignment plan. It's expected to include moves designed to implement the new student assignment policy that stresses proximity, stability and family choice.

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