Civil rights meeting to discuss Flagler County schools discipline investigation

Complaint says African American students facing harsher punishment than white students

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter
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PALM COAST, Fla. - Civil rights leaders and legal representatives will lead a town hall meeting Tuesday evening to discuss a federal investigation of Flagler County Public Schools discipline procedures.

The U.S. Office of Civil Rights investigation was prompted by a complaint filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which cited several examples of African American students facing harsher and more frequent punishment than white students in the district.

According to the complaint, black students accounted for 16 percent of the student population in the 2010-2011 school year, but they accounted for 31 percent of the suspensions.

"Our policies are carried out regardless of the race or gender of the student making the offense," Flagler County school attorney Kristy Gavin told Local 6. "But everyone has room for improvement."

The Office of Civil Rights can return from their investigation with one off three results:  no action, a call for new measures to be implemented by the school district or referral for a criminal investigation with the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

Tuesday's meeting, hosted by the Flagler County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Southern Poverty Law Center is designed to let parents know what's happening in the investigation.

It will take place at 6 p.m. at the African America Cultural Society in Palm Coast.

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