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School assemblies segregated students, civil rights group says

Posted March 10, 2009

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— The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights has found that a Dillard Drive Middle School principal did segregate black and Hispanic students by holding separate assemblies, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina said Tuesday.

On Dec. 4, 2007, principal Teresa Abron pulled seventh-graders from class after a fight that morning between a black girl and a Hispanic girl.

Dec. 5, 2007, interview with Teresa Abron

Abron said in a December 2007 interview that she and an assistant principal talked to the students about conduct, grades, respect and responsibility.

White students were not called to the assembly, she said, because none of them was identified as being involved in the fight. Had they been, they would also have been called, she said.

Citing the Office for Civil Rights' findings, the state ACLU said in a news release that "there is sufficient evidence to find that the district did, in fact, treat students differently based on their race."

Abron's actions drew criticism and support.

The state ACLU said she "unwittingly perpetuated" a stereotype that students of color are "problem students" who must be dealt with and that white students are less likely to get into trouble.

It later filed a complaint with the Department of Education's civil rights office, which enforces civil rights in schools.

Other groups, such as the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African-American Children, supported Abron, saying she "should be commended for her efforts to counsel the students who were accused of fighting.”

Wake County Public School System spokesman Michael Evans says the school system has apologized to parents and students and has promised to take measures to prevent such actions from happening again.

"We sent (a) letter to parents two weeks ago as a result of this decision," Evans said. "We cooperated fully with the Department of Education investigation and have made assurances that this type of situation would not happen in the future."


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  • whatusay Mar 11, 2009

    haggis basher.....what were the race of the two in the fight? Maybe there had been many spats and brawls from the same two races in the past and the principal only wanted to let them know that they needed stop the violence and fighting. Why did she need the whites involved? She did the right thing.

  • haggis basher Mar 11, 2009

    "This principal was doing what she thought was correct at the time and we should stand by her."
    She made a really foolish decision that caused all sorts of problems at the school. How somone could get to that level of responsibility and make such a basic error of judgement is rather worrying......and even more worrying is that so many posting on this forum can't grasp the significance of what she did......

  • whatusay Mar 11, 2009

    This is so silly, just like our entire race relations policy in this country...it is what it is and is an evolving situation. Not the government nor Al Sharpton can make it get any better any faster. This principal was doing what she thought was correct at the time and we should stand by her.

  • Axtel Mar 10, 2009

    Gosh, God almighty! Listen to all of you. We are a "nation of cowards" - Eric Holder US Atty. General. Now what do we do?

  • aintbackingdwn Mar 10, 2009

    Lets all line up to go to pep rally...one white, one black, one hispanic, one asian, blondes go to the back of the line....can we get any more distracted from educating our children?

  • wrx44 Mar 10, 2009

    Bronzegoddess...I hear you...I try treat everyone how I like to be treated, and don't judge anyone or form opinions about them unless I know them.

    But, the overall problem of black youth in this country failing out of school, getting involved in crime, or not having any oppportunity is not getting better...its getting worse.

    And its not because a principal called in the two ethnic groups that were having tension between them, right?

    My point is, instead of focusing on the failure to raise these kids, stay in school, be productive and law abiding, etc....we get people up in arms over issues like this.

    I have no problem agreeing to disagree about the principals actions.

    My point is, the black community has far worse problems than this, and the white community or any other cannot fix them...It has to come from inside the black community down to the individual parent as you have done.

    Only then will things (including issues of race) get to the level everyone wants.

  • injameswetrust2003 Mar 10, 2009

    This type of thing is what is wrong with our society. A principal cannot do his/her job without worrying about groups such as the ACLU.

    Evans / Burns, let's punish all the Wake County Political Schools System employees based on this one incident, like you did with the school speakers and all of that paperwork bologna that they have to fill out now because one teacher showed bad judgement & let a speaker bash Muslims.

  • emeraldislety Mar 10, 2009

    It is absolutely ridiculous that an apology is needed for something that was handled SUPERBLY. Abron was not segregating students on a whim; she was preventing any further violence from occurring. It made me laugh when this happened (I graduated Dillard a year earlier) because Mrs. Abron is black herself. Obviously she wouldn't be racists towards black people if she is black; she was just trying to resolve the situation quickly and effectively. Plus with ACORN and the ACLU involved, I don't even know why anyone would bother reading the story anyways...

  • oldfirehorse Mar 10, 2009

    See Principal Abron. I hope you're reading these folks posts. Now maybe next time you decide to try to prevent 7th graders from becoming full fledged gang bangers you need to be a little more culturally sensitive! So what if they wear a little gang attire and bully other kids. So what if they're planning to have a good ole fashion gang war at recess. Next time, don't try to speak to the root of the problem in culturally supportive work groups, just call a school wide assembly and preach to them. Sure that will work, and it will keep all these racists in here happy.

  • bronzegoddess40 Mar 10, 2009

    but then again I don't think that everything bad that happens to me is because someone's out to get me....

    Neither do I and I know a lot of people that don't this way either.