Tag: U.S. Department of Education

Students Jayla Tolliver and Taylissa Marriott, 15, Win Settlement in Racist Bullying Lawsuit in Nevada

Jayla Tolliver and Taylissa Marriott thank students at Swope Middle School, who wrote them letters of support. (Screenshot via rgj.com)

by Clarissa Hamlin via newsone.com

Two students now have some relief after being bullied for months at their Nevada high school because of race.

Jayla Tolliver and Taylissa Marriott, who are 15-year-old sisters and freshman at Yerington High School in Yerington, have won a settlement in their federal lawsuit against Lyon County School District on Monday (June 25), the Reno Gazette Journal reported. Their case has pushed the school to re-examine how it deals with bullying and racist behaviors from students, and it is making changes to existing policies.

Tolliver and Marriott suffered through some of the worst taunts and bullying from their peers — actions that are known to have driven many students of color to consider or commit suicide. The young women were called slurs on social media and were targeted in an online photo of the son of a Lyon County sheriff’s deputy holding a gun with the caption, “the red neck god of all gods…we bout to go [racial slur] huntin” last October.

Yerington school officials didn’t do enough to help the teens, who were harassed for at least six months over the 2017-18 school year. While the school was supposed to be a welcoming safe space for them, it became a nightmarish hell.

Police weren’t involved in any investigation of the social media threats against the teens. Yerington Police Chief Darren Wagner told the Reno Gazette Journal last October that the threats were protected by free speech, and the family’s statements to police about the matter were shredded accidentally. However, what was called “free speech” was in fact hate speech.

Fast forward to now. Tolliver and Marriott, who filed the lawsuit in January, have renewed hope despite their horrible experience. “In the beginning, we didn’t realize how much of a change we have made, and by us being some of the many to stand up and let their voice be heard, [it] made me feel that we did change the way people judge and look at someone before they actually know them,” Marriott said.

The school district has agreed to consult the U.S. Department of Education’s racial harassment experts and pay for counseling for the teens. They will also pay a lump sum to the teens’ family and for all attorney fees, an amount totaling $160,000.

Jayla and Taylissa released the following statements:

I would like to thank everyone who had our back and listened when no one would, through this long painful experience. I learned that you should never let your voice be unheard even when people turn their backs and tell you to lower your voice. Racism is something I never thought I’d go through. Racism is also something many people have done nothing about, but I am proud to say that I am one of the few who stood up when my race was an issue to others. I will always look back on this tragedy knowing that it made me the strong African-American woman I am today! Racism is something that I knew went on through the world but for a long time I forgot it existed. I cannot dream about having so much hate for another group of people because of their skin color yet there are people all over the world who find people of color disgusting and repulsive because we are different but don’t realize how beautiful and unique we are because we are different. I hope that our story inspires others. Always remember no matter where you are from, what you look like, how different you talk, or how you walk we are all equal. Jayla Tolliver

I just wanted to start off saying my sister Jayla and I are so thankful. I would never in a million years believe we would have to go through what we did. For having you guys say that you are here for us and standing by our sides gave us so much hope that we could fight and overcome all the horrific behavior. In the beginning, we didn’t realize how much of a change we have made and by us being some of the many to stand up and let their voice be heard made me feel that we did change the way people judge and look at someone before they actually know them. But I want to say a BIG thank you to Swope Middle School for being some of the biggest supporters and some of the first to reach out to my sister and me. Taylissa Marriott

Source: https://newsone.com/3814608/black-students-racist-bullying-lawsuit-settlement-nevada/

Linda Oubré Selected as President of Whittier College in California

Whittier College President Linda Oubré (photo via biz journals.com)

via jbhe.com

The board of trustees of Whittier College in California, has chosen Linda Oubré as the educational institution’s fifteenth president. When she takes office on July 1, Dr. Oubré will be the first African American and the first person of color to serve as president of Whittier College.

Whittier College, located east of Los Angeles, enrolls about 1,600 undergraduate students and approximately 450 graduate students, according to the latest statistics supplied to the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 4 percent of the undergraduate student body. The college’s most famous graduate is Richard M. Nixon.

For the past six years, Dr. Oubré has served as dean of the College of Business at San Francisco State University. Earlier, Dr. Oubré was executive director of corporate relations and business development, and chief diversity officer for the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Oubré holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2018/04/linda-oubre-selected-as-the-fifteenth-president-of-whittier-college-in-california/

Obama Administration Encourages Schools to Clarify Role and Better Train School Police

Video footage shows a police school resource officer grabbing 14-year-old Gyasi Hughes by the throat before throwing him to the floor at Round Rock High School in Round Rock, Texas, on Oct. 8, 2015. KXAN SCREENSHOT (via theroot.com)

article by Breanna Edwards via theroot.com

The Obama administration is asking schools and colleges to clarify the role of law-enforcement officials who serve campuses, the Washington Post reports.

According to the report, the recommendations come after several violent encounters between school police and students, sparking debate about whether authorities are actually keeping children safe or arresting them for no reason. “The goal here is to give people a resource to do better,” Education Secretary John King told reporters during a call Wednesday, the Post notes.

The departments of Education and Justice sent letters to school nationwide encouraging school districts and colleges to make their expectations for school police explicit and clear by signing memorandums of understanding with local law-enforcement agencies. The departments recommend that the memorandums require training for school officers and also explicitly state that their role should not involve meting out day-to-day discipline, as well as other specifications.

Although the initiative is essentially guidance from the federal government, the Post notes, agencies will be required to follow it in order to qualify for federal grants that pay for the hiring of up to 150 school resource officers a year. The Post also notes, however, that the officers supported by those grants are a minority of the 31,000 school resource officers who work in public schools across the nation.

To read full article, go to: Obama Administration Encourages Schools to Clarify Role of School Police

Obama Administration Issues Guidelines to Allow Transgender Access to Public School Bathrooms

(screenshot via cnn.com)
(screenshot via cnn.com)

article by Emanuella Grinberg via cnn.com

(CNN) The Obama administration issued guidance Friday directing public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity.

A joint letter from the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice went to schools Friday with guidelines to ensure that “transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment,” the Obama administration said Thursday.
 
The announcement comes amid heated debate over transgender rights in schools and public life, which includes a legal standoff between the administration and North Carolina over its controversial House Bill 2. The guidance goes beyond the bathroom issue, touching upon privacy rights, education records and sex-segregated athletics, all but guaranteeing transgender students the right to identify in school as they choose.
 
“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said. “This guidance gives administrators, teachers and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies.”
 
The letter does not carry the force of law but the message was clear: Fall in line or face loss of federal funding.  Justice and Education Department officials have repeatedly made clear that under their interpretation of Title IX, the federal anti-discrimination law in education, schools receiving federal funds may not discriminate based on a student’s sex, including a student’s transgender status.
“The guidance makes clear that both federal agencies treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of enforcing Title IX,” the administration said Thursday.
 
LGBT groups praised the announcement, calling it a validation of transgender rights and a repudiation of so-called “bathroom bills” that ban people from using public bathrooms that do not correspond with their biological sex.
 
“These groundbreaking guidelines not only underscore the Obama administration’s position that discriminating against transgender students is flat-out against the law, but they provide public school districts with needed and specific guidance guaranteeing that transgender students should be using facilities consistent with their gender identity,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.
 
“This is a truly significant moment not only for transgender young people but for all young people, sending a message that every student deserves to be treated fairly and supported by their teachers and schools.”
The letter emphasizes the departments’ shared position that schools must treat transgender students the way they want to be treated based on their gender identity, regardless of how others may feel about it.

Kim Hunter Reed Named Deputy Under Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education

Dr. Reed is the former chief of staff for the Louisiana Board of Regents and the former executive vice president of the University of Louisiana System. Earlier, she served on the faculty at Southern University in Baton Rouge and was executive assistant to the president and interim vice president of student affairs at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.

Dr. Reed earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalist and master of public administration degree at Southeastern Louisiana University. She holds a doctorate in public policy from Southern University.

Dr. Isiaah Crawford Chosen as Next President of the University of Puget Sound

New University of Puget Sound President Isiaah Crawford. (photo via seattleu.edu)
New University of Puget Sound President Isiaah Crawford. (photo via seattleu.edu)

The board of trustees of the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, has chosen Dr. Isiaah Crawford as the fourteenth president of the university. He will take office on July 1.

According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education, the University of Puget Sound enrolls about 2,500 undergraduate students and 300 graduate students. African Americans make up one percent of the undergraduate student body.

Dr. Crawford currently serves as provost of Seattle University. He has served in that role since 2008. Previously, Dr. Crawford served on the faculty at Loyola University in Chicago for more than 20 years. He held positions as chair of the psychology department and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

In accepting the role of the next president of the University of Puget Sound, Dr. Crawford stated that “I am humbled and excited by the opportunity to serve Puget Sound. It is a vibrant institution with a deep sense of community and place — it’s clear that Puget Sound looks not only to educate its students but to shape their abilities to look outside of themselves to find ways to use their education to make a difference in the world. The college is extraordinarily well-positioned to build on its accomplishments, seek continuous improvement, and attain its next level of distinction in fulfillment of its mission as a national liberal arts college.”

To read more, go to: https://www.jbhe.com/2016/02/the-next-president-of-the-university-of-puget-sound-in-tacoma-washington/

U.S. Education Department Seeks to Eliminate Racial Bias in Special Ed

(image via rrisd.net)
(image via rrisd.net)

article by Nigel Roberts via newsone.com

The Obama administration wants to correct racial and ethnic disparities in how school districts determine which students to place in special education programs.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education proposed (PDF) standardizing the system, Education Week reports.

Each state currently uses its own method of determining “significant disproportionality” in special education. Federal education officials believe the rule change would likely cause more states to fall under that category, according to Education Week.

That’s significant because the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, requires school districts to set aside 15 percent of their federal funds for special education students.

The site points out that a 2013 Government Accountability Office report (PDF) says just 2 percent of school districts nationwide were identified as having minorities represented disproportionately in special education. “This figure fails to represent the true scope and breadth of significant disparities we currently see in special education,” says the report.

“The data we’ve seen makes it very clear that we, as a country, are not living up to the intent of the law,” said acting Education Secretary John B. King Jr., according to Education Week.

Federal education officials also suspect that minority students with learning disabilities are disproportionately disciplined at schools nationwide.

U.S. Department Of Education Creates Second Chance Pell Pilot Program for Inmates to Earn College Degrees

0731_obama_prisons
The Department of Education announced a pilot program that will make some incarcerated people eligible for Pell Grants. (KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS)

Some people in state and federal prisons will be eligible for Pell Grants under a program announced Friday by the U.S. Department of Education. The Second Chance Pell Pilot Program aims to help the incarcerated “get jobs, support their families and turn their lives around,” the department said in a press release.

The Higher Education Act of 1965 established Pell Grants as a type of federally funded financial aid for college students that students do not need to repay. The government decides how much aid to award each student based on financial need, cost of the school, enrollment status and future enrollment plans. The maximum amount per student for the upcoming school year is $5,775.

In 1994, Congress passed a bill that made people in state and federal prisons ineligible for Pell Grants. By that time, according to The Washington Post, 25,168 of the 3.3 million students who received the grants were prisoners, costing the government $34.6 million of the $5.3 billion it spent on the program. Some politicians felt that slice was too much of the pie. “Law-abiding students have every right to be outraged when a Pell Grant for a policeman’s child is cut, but a criminal that the officer sends to prison can still get a big check,” a congressman said at the time.

On Friday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in the press release: “America is a nation of second chances. Giving people who have made mistakes in their lives a chance to get back on track and become contributing members of society is fundamental to who we are—it can also be a cost-saver for taxpayers.”

Studies show that prison education programs help reduce recidivism rates, which in effect save taxpayer money. In its release, the Department of Education cites a 2013 RAND Corporation study, commissioned by the Department of Justice, which found that incarcerated people who participated in education programs were 43 percent less likely to return to prison within three years than inmates who did not participate.

“We found that for every taxpayer dollar spent on correctional education, there is a five dollar savings due to released inmates desisting from crime and not returning to prison. From a straightforward public spending and public savings perspective, correctional education is a smart investment,” Robert Bozick, a sociologist at the RAND Corporation who worked on the study, said via email.

He added: “Many folks question the benefit of providing education to criminals. However, the reality is that the majority of incarcerated individuals in this country will be released back into the community, living and working in our neighborhoods. Therefore, preparing them to successfully integrate back into our communities and resist returning to crime is in everyone’s best interest.”

Without grants, incarcerated people must pay for their own education while behind bars, said Alex Friedmann, managing editor of Prison Legal News, a publication of the Human Rights Defense Center, a nonprofit group. “You have to be able to afford it and most students of course can’t afford it if they’re locked up because they make pretty low wages,” he said. “So this new development, which we heard about earlier this year, is certainly a welcome change.”

Continue reading “U.S. Department Of Education Creates Second Chance Pell Pilot Program for Inmates to Earn College Degrees”

Here Comes Another One! New York Teen Kwasi Enin Accepted to All 8 Ivy League Colleges

Kwasi Enin

Three days ago, Good Black News shared an article about Washington D.C. wunderkind Avery Coffey, who was accepted to five Ivy League colleges.  Today, 17-year-old New Yorker, violist and aspiring physician Kwasi Enin went one better – make that three better – and earned acceptance to all EIGHT Ivys!

According to usatoday.com, the acceptances began rolling in over the past few months, and by late last week when he opened an e-mail from Harvard, Enin found he’d been accepted to every one. School district officials provided scanned copies of acceptance letters from all eight on Monday. Yale confirmed that it was holding a spot for Enin.

The feat is extremely rare, say college counselors — few students even apply to all eight, because each seeks different qualities in their freshman class. Almost none are invited to attend them all. The Ivy League colleges are among the nation’s most elite.

“My heart skipped a beat when he told me he was applying to all eight,” says Nancy Winkler, a guidance counselor at William Floyd High School, where Enin attends class. In 29 years as a counselor, she says, she’s never seen anything like this. “It’s a big deal when we have students apply to one or two Ivies. To get into one or two is huge. It was extraordinary.”

For most of the eight schools, acceptance comes rarely, even among the USA’s top students. At the top end, Cornell University admitted only 14% of applicants. Harvard accepted just 5.9%.

Continue reading “Here Comes Another One! New York Teen Kwasi Enin Accepted to All 8 Ivy League Colleges”

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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