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Student files OCR complaint against RWHS

For the second time in four years, a U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights complaint has been filed on behalf of a student against Red Wing School District.

In a complaint filed in March, a parent alleges that a son was racially discriminated against while he attended Red Wing High School. Under the Freedom of Information Act, the names of the student and parent -- along with any identifying information -- were redacted from the copy of the complaint that the R-E received.

In the complaint, the parent stated that the boy has struggled academically for most of his academic years, but that the district has not done enough to make sure he is keeping up.

"I have only received limited contact from the school about his academic status," the complaint states.

The complainant goes on to say that the boy was racially harassed by another student from February 2012 to April 2012. The student threatened the boy physically and threatened the boy's mother, the complaint states. The complainant spoke to the superintendent about the harassment, but nothing has yet been done to address the issue.

"I have had several meetings with promises with none of them being fulfilled," the complaint states. "My son has also never received an apology."

The complainant asks for a public apology from Red Wing High School administration and the School Board, a town hall meeting to address the school's race relations and clear answers on how the district will address the achievement gap between minority and Caucasian students, among other things.

Supt. Karsten Anderson said the district is working internally to prepare a response to the OCR and had no public comment on the matter.

The district is still working to complete the last few requirements of an agreement it made with the OCR following former student Quera Pruitt's 2009 complaint against the district. Pruitt, who is black, alleged that she was racially discriminated against when students came to school dressed in stereotypically black clothing during homecoming.

Anderson said that as per that agreement with OCR, the district is updating its policy on harassment and violence, and is waiting on feedback from the OCR on its most recent revisions.

A civil lawsuit that Pruitt brought against the district was settled out of court in 2012.

Sarah Gorvin
Sarah Gorvin has been with the Republican Eagle for two years and covers education, business and crime and courts. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2010 with a  journalism degree.