Brooklyn Charter School Expansion Put on Hold Due to Community Backlash

Community Roots Charter School

Expansion for a popular Brooklyn, New York, charter school was recently suspended in part by resentful community responses. The school, Community Roots Charter School, currently shares a building with a public elementary school and a separate special education school. Academic success in recent years motivated leaders at Community Roots to expand operations to accommodate middle school students; a plan greatly accepted by students and parents participating at Community Roots. The decision to postpone expansion came as a disappointing shock to families.

After opening in 2006 Community Roots Charter School has proved to be a positive and effective experiment in alternative education. In 2010 the school received almost 700 applications to fill only 50- open seats. Parents watching their children excel in the program dreaded the day they would have to enroll their students in traditional public middle schools. The announcement of adding middle school curriculum was a welcome plan and most parents didn’t bother with looking at other middle schools.

Unfortunately for Community Roots families the community did not express an overwhelming joy for the situation.

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Department of Education Reminds School Districts that Discrimination is Illegal

As school districts begin enrolling for the next school year, a letter from the U.S. Department of Education was sent out to remind school districts that denying elementary or secondary education to any student is federally prohibited. In response to recent reports of school districts rejecting students based on citizenship, the letter was meant to reinforce the federal guidelines of education as decided in the 1982 Supreme Court case, Plyer v. Doe.

The decision of Plyer v. Doe upholds the inability of any state to deny public education to students whether they are a citizen of the United States or not. Denying education to illegal immigrants was seen as imposing a hardship on minors who were not accountable for the immigration decisions of their parents. Despite the actions of several American school districts participating in education discrimination this has been the law since 1982.

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Constance McMillen Wins $35K from Homophobic School District


image via The AP

Constance McMillen, who has become a gay-rights poster child for wanting to take her girlfriend to prom, was awarded $35,000 from the Itawamba County School District, reports the Associated Press. The school district canceled its prom rather than allow a same-sex couple to attend the dance. The ACLU filed a discrimination lawsuit on the 18-year-old’s behalf, demanding reparations and that the prom be reinstated.

Although the judge would not force the high school to hold prom, he did rule that McMillen’s rights had been violated. As part of the agreement, the school also agreed to follow a new policy not to discriminate based on sexual orientation in any educational or extracurricular activities.

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Florida School Fires Fourth-Grade Teacher for “Fornication”

Jarretta Hamilton with her husband and daughter. Image via AOL news.

Jarretta Hamilton with her husband and daughter. Image via AOL news.

Fourth-grade teacher Jarretta Hamilton found herself jobless after requesting maternity leave, reports AOL News. Hamilton admitted to school authorities that she conceived before her April marriage. In a letter explaining her termination from Southland Christian School in St. Cloud, it states that she was not fired because of her pregnancy, but because of “fornication, sex outside of marriage.” They felt that Hamilton had violated the school’s values, which all teachers hired at Southland Christian must agree to uphold.

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Anti-Semitism Sparks College Newspaper Debates

A few weeks ago a swastika graffiti was found in a library bathroom at Lewis & Clark College. The student body and faculty at Lewis & Clark College were very upset about the graffiti.

Last week, another liberal arts college, Reed College, published a satirical article about the issue in their humor-based-newspaper, The Pamphlette.

The article claimed that students had killed all Jews on their campus. The opening paragraph states:
“In what is being called a ‘tragic, but all too predictable’ event, the staff of The Leaphlette, a student humor publication at Lewis & Clark College, have been accused of rounding up and gassing all of the Jews on their Portland, OR, campus.” Read the rest of this entry »

Historically Black University Accused of Racism

benedict-collegeBenedict College in South Carolina, one of the Historically Black Universities, has been accused of racism by three former Caucasian professors. They claim race was the reason they were either let go or didn’t receive promotions. A settlement has been reached between the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Benedict – each teacher would receive $55,000 and the school will remind its staff about its non-discrimination policy.

The allegations include a 2004 report that art instructor Argiri Aggelopoulou applied for the position of art history professor, but that instead went to a black professor; and a 2008 report in which contracts were not renewed for Aggelopoulou, art professor Michael Hale and associate English professor Katherine Mille. Read the rest of this entry »


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