DPI upholds investigation into CF schools | Daily Updates … – Leader-Telegram

CHIPPEWA FALLS — The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has issued two rulings stating the Chippewa Falls School District properly conducted an investigation into discrimination complaints made by students, and denying the appeal by students who felt the district had discriminated against them.
The ACLU of Wisconsin filed an appeal in October 2021 with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on behalf of the Cultivative Coalition, an organization of current and former students of the Chippewa Falls school district who allege they experienced persistent and severe discriminatory harassment at school.
The appeal challenged what the ACLU called the district’s “perfunctory and evasive handling of the pupil discrimination complaint” the organization filed earlier in 2021. The student complainants alleged they were discriminated “on the basis of race, sex, and sexual orientation by causing, encouraging, accepting and tolerating a school climate hostile to students with those protected statuses.” The complaints also alleged that the Chippewa Falls School District disciplined students differently on the basis of race and that the District failed to “meet its statutory responsibility to provide appropriately diverse instructional materials.” The complaints were made by a civil rights organization on behalf of both current and former students.
“The District conducted extensive investigations of the complaints and determined that District staff acted properly,” a press release from the school district stated Wednesday. “The civil rights organization appealed the results of the investigations to DPI. DPI determined that the District’s investigations met the requirements of applicable law and that the investigative records supported the District’s conclusions. Further, DPI concluded that the District’s instructional and library media materials selection policy complied with state law. The civil rights organization has not pursued further review of the District’s investigation process and conclusions.”
In the press release, district officials said they were pleased with the DPI ruling.
“At the same time, the District recognizes that there is still much work to be done to educate students and, more broadly, the community, about the rights and responsibilities that we all share to prevent and address discrimination,” the press release states. “Due to confidential pupil record laws, the District is unable to discuss specific information regarding the complaint allegations and the District’s decisions.”
ACLU of Wisconsin expressed their disappointment in the DPI’s findings, saying “the decision means that the District can ignore the multitude of evidence provided by the Cultivative Coalition that shows pervasive harassment in the District.”
“We’re disappointed by today’s decision by DPI, and concerned that it may lead to more unchecked harassment of students enrolled in CFAUSD. Despite the decision, we are proud of the members of the Cultivative Coalition who were brave enough to take a stand and share their stories of racial, gender, and sexual harassment,” said Elisabeth Lambert, staff attorney with the ACLU of Wisconsin. “Even though this decision is disappointing, we remain committed to our fight to end discrimination in Wisconsin schools.”
Contact: chris.vetter@ecpc.com
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