Wake County Schools

Complaint: Wake County schools discriminating against Latinos

Posted June 12, 2012

— Two legal advocacy groups have filed a federal civil rights complaint against North Carolina's largest school system alleging discrimination against Latino students and their families.

The complaint filed against the Wake County Public School System by Legal Aid of North Carolina and the Southern Poverty Law Center asks the U.S. Department of Education to require the system to provide documents sent home about suspensions and special education services in Spanish for parents with limited proficiency in English.

The complaint names three Wake students – two ninth graders and a sixth grader – who were informed in English that they were being suspended for the remainder of the school year. Letters in English were sent home to their parents, who couldn't read them, the groups allege.

Legal Aid of North Carolina spokeswoman Peggy Nicholson said the practice violates federal law.

"If these parents don't get these important notices in a language that they can understand, they can't be advocates for their children," Nicholson said.

students Complaint: Wake County schools discriminating against Latinos

She said that once the letters were translated and students were able to get legal help, two out of the three suspensions were dropped.

"The delay between when the suspension took place and when the hearing was finally held was much longer than it probably would have been if the mother had been able to understand right off the bat what she needed to do," Nicholson said.

A Wake County schools spokeswoman said the district is taking the complaint seriously and is committed to providing support for parents with limited English proficiency.

"WCPSS staff, from the central office to the school level, are actively reviewing our practices to ensure we are meeting families' needs at every opportunity," spokeswoman Samiha Khanna said in a statement.

She added that the district was disappointed by the complaint, but eager to work with the Office of Civil Rights to resolve it.

Latinos account for about 15 percent of the district's student population, with about half of those children having limited proficiency in English.


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  • ThomasL Jun 14, 2012

    If they don't like that the usa speaks English I will gladly throw them back over the border where they belong.You don't see the Chinese and Japanese Germans etc crying about things like this,its because they learn the language and don't expect things to go there way.

  • pebbles262004 Jun 14, 2012

    well tell them to move back to where they came here from (poor things).. This is AMERICA and we speak English...deal with it or please feel free to LEAVE

  • ladyblue Jun 14, 2012

    It never ceases to amaze me that the land of opportunity has turned into the land of "I come illegaly into your country and demand all the rights that every citizen of this country has." No wonder they call it the land of opportunity. I guess we need to find linguist with every language spoken in the world for every public service offered in our country to OUR CITIZENS. So tired of people suing on equality when they are NOT equal..(being illegal does not make you equal to citizenship) No wonder our schools continually decline as we have to provide funds for equality of people who need special attention" Will it ever end? IMO it seems we may as well do away with our borders and dept of immigration and say coem on over and let's all starve and decline together.

  • SnowyRdu Jun 14, 2012

    When my parents moved to this country they learned English so they could be productive and interact with other people in our society. They became citizens. We are AMERICANS - not Jewish-American, not African-American, not Italian-American - just good old AMERCANS.

    If you want to live in AMERICA and enjoy the benefits of this great country then be an AMERICAN - learn the language and be productive. I don't want to see English and Spanish on the cereal box I live in AMERICA.

  • wral suks bauls Jun 13, 2012

    This is what amazes me in the world anymore... and just shows how things are going downhill.

    I would *NEVER*, ever, Ever, EVER move to Mexico or ANY foreign country and enroll in any school, or other entity, and expect them to provide everything in my native language [english].

  • rebelbelle Jun 13, 2012

    WHY should everything have to be translated into Spanish? It is the responsibility of the parent to either learn to read and write English or find a friend or neighbor who can translate for them. And who's to say that they could have read the Spanish version?

    What's next? Do all notices have to go out in multiple languages? The US needs to adopt English as the official language and to make it clear that if you live here, you have to learn English.

  • christylaf Jun 13, 2012

    Funny.....I know others who have come here from other countries, the correct way I might add, who already know english and do not expect special concessions. I have never heard any of my LEGAL coworkers and friends from India, China, Japan, Germany or any other country ever ask for anything in their native language. Learn english or go home. We are tired of paying for you and your children!!! We have our own to pay for!

  • Bradley07 Jun 13, 2012

    "If these parents don't get these important notices in a language that they can understand, they can't be advocates for their children," Nicholson said...... it's real simple LEARN ENGLISH IF YOUR GOING TO LIVE HERE!!!

  • southerntalent Jun 13, 2012

    pay taxes and be here legally or simply,Go Home

  • US Born Jun 13, 2012

    If our goverment would CLOSE the borders down to keep them out of the US we wouldn't be having this problem or many other problems we have with them. Sent them back and they won't have to learn English.

    I am not discriminating against Latinos when making the above comment,I am just stating my opinion as an English speaking American Citizen that works and pays taxes.