Polk County Schools is under investigation by the Department of Education for allegedly discriminating against students based on their race and ethnicity, according to a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
In the complaint, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the ACLU alleges that Polk schools have an explicit policy that “segregates and excludes students based upon race and ethnic origin” based on the students’ physical characteristics and “exclusionary policies.”
According to the complaint filed Tuesday, students who identify as white and African-American, and who attend schools in Polk county, Fla.
— a predominantly white county in the southern United States — face “severe, persistent, and pervasive discrimination” in their schools based on “their race and ethnospecies.”
The complaint alleges that Polk school officials have used “implied race and identity stereotypes” to target students with disabilities, and have used racial bias “to prevent students from participating in school activities and learning activities,” according to the ACLU.
In a statement, the Polk County Schools Department said it has “reached a settlement with the ACLU that will provide immediate relief to students, parents, and students’ and parents’ legal counsel who are impacted by the complaint.”
The district said in a statement to Fox News: “Polk County is committed to providing the most inclusive and inclusive education possible, including to our students.
We have taken significant steps to improve our schools, including making them safer, more inclusive and more open.”
The ACLU filed the complaint in the name of a student, whom the school has referred to as “B” because she is black, and she has requested that the district provide her with “all of the support and resources necessary to achieve her personal and professional goals.”