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Title VI complaints will be investigated

Office of Civil Rights to look into alleged discrimination at Detroit Public Schools

By Mike Sandula
The Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has announced it will investigate complaints filed against Detroit Public Schools and the State of Michigan.

Helen Moore, of Keep The Vote/No Takeover, filed a Title VI complaint last year alleging the state of Michigan, through its statewide school district, discriminated against Black and Latino students and parents. Moore says low-income districts of color were placed under emergency management while “similarly situated white suburban school districts” were not.

In a letter addressed to Moore, the OCR says it will investigate a “180-day period” beginning Jan. 12, 2012, although it will “consider relevant historical information as background in its investigation.

Moore says she is pleased the investigation is going forward and is optimistic about its eventual results.

“I am (optimistic) because we believe there’s discrimination … against Black and brown children in the city of Detroit,” Moore told the Michigan Citizen. “None of the districts that are predominately white … have been attacked as Detroit children have been attacked.”

Detroit is one of 18 U.S. cities that have filed Title VI complaints against their states. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin by recipients of federal financial assistance.

“We’re tied in nationally with the other districts,” Moore said. “Everyone’s trying to help Detroit.”

Moore and about 50 other Detroit and Highland Park residents traveled by bus to Washington, D.C. Jan. 27 to protest what they said was the discriminatory closing of schools in low-income communities of color.

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