Office for Civil Rights Resolves Discrimination Complaint with Oakland School

Findings reveal patterns of unequal treatment

Media Contact: Candice Francis / Communications Director, LCCR /  415.543.9697 x216 /
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) successfully resolved a complaint, filed in July 2012 by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR), on behalf of four African American students from Skyline High School in Oakland, CA. The complaint alleged racial harassment and discrimination, retaliation and the frequent misplacement of African American students into inappropriate classes by staff and administrators at Skyline.
Under the resolution agreement with OCR, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) agrees to develop and implement a process to investigate and respond to discrimination complaints in a timely manner. OUSD also agrees to ensure that all students at Skyline High School receive appropriate course placement and counseling. OCR will continue to monitor OUSD’s compliance with the agreement until all of the terms of the agreement have been fulfilled.
The troubles at Skyline High School were brought to LCCR’s attention by members of the school’s Black Student Union and the Oakland Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). “This has been a very empowering experience,” said one of the student complainants. “Filing this complaint has taught me that it is important to speak up against injustice.” George Holland, President of the Oakland NAACP Branch, commented, “While we are pleased that there will be changes at Skyline, this complaint serves also as an important reminder to OUSD that it has a responsibility to all students regardless of race or ethnicity.”
Cecilia Chen, Esq., LCCR Thurgood Marshall Fellow who represented the students, added, “We hope that the agreement will ensure that all incidents of discrimination at Skyline and other Oakland schools will be taken seriously by OUSD and addressed promptly. We will continue to monitor the situation at Skyline and work with students, parents and community groups to ensure that all children are being treated equally.”