A local branch of the NAACP filed a lawsuit on July 6 that accuses the Antioch Unified School District of violating a school discipline agreement, The Mercury News reports.
The East County NAACP is asking the Contra Costa County Superior Court to compel the California school district to adhere to a March 2015 interim civil rights agreement. The deal arranges for an independent group to examine racial disparities in suspensions.
Additionally, the school district agreed to assess its special education program to ensure students are properly evaluated and getting entitled services. The district also said it would hire psychologists to determine if school officials are using implicit biases when they make expulsion decisions and when selecting students for special education.
However, the complaint said the district “has failed to provide the experts with necessary information to complete their reports and issue recommendations,” according to EdSource.
Michael Harris, an attorney representing the local NAACP, told The Mercury News that the school district was “bold” to agree to such a “historic” agreement.
“But after making that agreement, they didn’t actually follow through on what they said they were going to do,” he added. “So we’re trying to follow up to get that effort back on track.”
Antioch Superintendent Stephanie Anello told the newspaper that the district is disappointed by the lawsuit and is “committed” to making nondiscriminatory decisions.
EdSource said a statement from the school district explained that several issues were raised during negotiations —including methodology, privacy, and fairness — that the two sides have not resolved. Those issues are impeding progress.
During the 2014-15 school year, African-Americans comprised 26 percent of the student population, but 60 percent of all suspensions and 65 percent of all expulsions, the lawsuit alleges.
It also stated that Black students represented 37 percent identified as having disabilities, but accounted for 58 percent of students with at least one in-school suspension and 56 percent of out-of-school suspensions.