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Durham schools being investigated for alleged civil rights violations

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DURHAM, N.C. -

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is investigating whether Durham Public Schools disciplines Black students and students with disabilities more than others.

The investigation is in response to a formal complaint filed by two advocacy groups, Advocates for Children's Services and the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the Civil Rights Project of UCLA, against DPS in April.

Read the Full Complaint

The complaint revealed that DPS suspends Black students at more than four times the rate of White students. The data within the complaint shows the trend is growing since DPS' suspension rates increased by approximately one-third over the last two years.

"We are glad that OCR is taking this complaint seriously," said Peggy Nicholson in a written release, an attorney with ACS. "DPS' discriminatory discipline practices, whether intentional or not, have devastating effects on students, families, and our entire community. This needs to be fully investigated so that Durham can begin to develop a systemic solution that adequately addresses this discrimination and reduces the use of harmful and unnecessary suspensions."

DPS released the below statement about the investigation.

"DPS is fully cooperating with OCR in its investigation. We look forward to beginning the next school year in a spirit of inclusion and innovation that will help all of our students graduate prepared to succeed in college or career," said Chip Sudderth, Director of Public Information.

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