U.S. Dept. of Ed.: Dillard segregated students

RALEIGH Wake County Schools admitted it owed Dillard Drive Middle School students and parents an apology, according to a news release issued by the ACLU and ACORN.

Click here to read the apology letter issued by Dillard Middle School Principal Teresa Abron and the letter from Superintendent Del Burns to the US Dept. of Ed.

After more than a year of investigation by the two groups, "the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights found that Dillard Middle School segregated students by race and national orgin following an incident on December 2007."

According to the release, the Wake County Public School System acknowledged it owed Dillard students and parents an apology. The school system has vowed to take measures to prevent any discriminatory behavior in the future.

The incident that prompted the investigation took place on December 4, 2007. After an altercation between a Hispanic and an African-American student, Principal Teresa Abron held an assembly on gang violence in the school's auditorium.

Abron made all seventh grade black and Hispanic students attend the assemblies separately. No Asian or white students were required to attend.

Following the assemblies, complaints were made to the principal regarding her actions. Abron did not admit to any unfair or discriminatory treatment of students, so parents, students and citizens complained to the Wake County School Board.

Initially, the school did not take any action and the ACLU and Raleigh's ACORN chapter filed a complaint with the OCR in May 2008.

Wake Schools issued a public apology on Feb. 20 and also agreed in writing to never "separate students based solely on their race or natural origin to address issues relating to student conduct and discipline."

On February 26, 2009, OCR issued its findings in a letter.

The letter stated, "there is sufficient evidence to find that the District did, in fact, treat students differently based on their race when School administrators made the decision to require African-American and Hispanic students to attend two separate assemblies based on their race."

No action was ever taken against Principal Abron.

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