Delaware: OCR, Red Clay CSD Resolve Antisemitic Bullying Complaint
The district must audit its harassment procedures and annually train its staff after a student was repeatedly targeted for being Jewish.
WILMINGTON, Del. — The Red Clay Consolidated School District will provide anti-harassment training to staff and compensate the family of a Jewish student who alleged antisemitic bullying as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
An investigation into the Title VI complaint, which was filed against the district in June 2023, determined peers targeted the student because she is Jewish. The harassment included throwing a paper airplane at her which had the words “Blood of the Jews” written on it as well as several swastikas and bloody imagery, according to an OCR press release. Shortly after, classmates raised their arms toward the student in a “Heil Hitler” salute. One week later, the student found a swastika drawn on her desk.
Swastikas were also drawn on the student’s desk on two other occasions throughout the same school year. Students also allegedly told the student, “I support Kanye West. Hitler was right.”
“While the district responded to most harassing incidents the student experienced, these responses were often haphazard; were inconsistently enforced as well as inconsistently reflected in district documentation; did not consistently include effective or timely steps to mitigate the effects of the harassment on the student or other students; and did not appear to respond to escalating and repeated incidents,” the OCR determined.
As part of the resolution, which can be read in full here, the district must offer to repay the student’s family for past counseling, academic, or therapeutic services; widely publicize its anti-harassment statement; review its Title VI procedures; address its documentation of harassment reports; annually train staff and faculty about Title VI requirements and procedures; and provide age-appropriate programming for students on discrimination and harassment.
The district must also audit all Title VI complaints it received during the 2023-2024 school year to ensure compliance with the district’s policies and procedures; conduct an audit of all incidents at the school coded as “Inappropriate Behavior” and “Abusive Language/Gestures” during the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years; and conduct a climate survey with students and provide the OCR with the survey results and the district’s proposed corrective actions.
“This important agreement requires the Red Clay Consolidated District to fulfill its federal civil rights obligation to ensure that all of its students, including Jewish students, can learn safely and without discriminatory harassment in its schools,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights. “We look forward to active work with this district going forward to protect Jewish students, and all students, from targeted discrimination that impedes their equal access to education.”
The agreement marks the first time in nine months the education department announced the closure of an antisemitism-related investigation filed under Title VI, according to JTA. It also comes as the department investigates a massive influx of allegedly antisemitic incidents on K-12 and college campuses in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in the three months following the attack and subsequent ongoing war, at least 505 incidents were reported on college campuses. Another 246 were reported in K-12 schools.
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