The U.S. Department of Education's civil rights division is looking into complaints lodged against Bay District School's discipline policies.
In August of last year, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a complaint alleging disparities in punishments for African-American students. Five school districts in Florida including Bay were part of the filing. Local organization, The Rainbow Push Coalition, also encouraged the district to look at its policies in response to the SPLC's filing.
This week DOE attorney's came to investigate the allegations visiting Jinks Middle School, Bay High School, Everitt Middle School and Rutherford High School. Bay District Spokeswoman Karen Tucker says the schools were chosen because they were more balanced racially than other sites and that makes it easier to compare numbers. She says the campuses were not specifically named in the complaint as having more problems than other schools.
Tucker says the goal was to gather facts and records and interview teachers and students. She says the DOE is required to look into all complaints. At this time, the district isn't sure when the inquiry will be complete but they fully cooperated with DOE and believe it went well.