Parents Claim Philadelphia School Discriminates Against Black Students


A group of Philadelphia parents whose children attend Upper Dublin schools have accused the district of racial discrimination. David Chang writes for NBC Philadelphia that the parents claim more African American students face suspension at the school than students of other races and have taken their complaint to the US Department of Education. They add that the district placed black students in lower level curricular programs disproportionately.

In the complaint, parents stated that despite the fact that only 7.3% of pupils in the Upper Dublin School District are black, almost 45% of out-of-school suspensions were doled out to black students in the 2014-2015 school year.

The parents also allege that there was a disproportionately high percentage of total out-of-school suspensions received by black students with 48% in 2013-2014 and 63% in 2012-2013.

“The district’s policies have serious, immediate consequences for our children,” said Dawn Kelley, a member of the Council of African American Parents (CAAP), a California-based group. “Higher suspension rates are putting black students at a severe disadvantage when it comes to college and career prospects.”

Additionally, CAAP says the district placed few black students into gifted programming and claimed no black students were in gifted education in any of the district’s four elementary schools or middle schools in 2014-2015. The organization pointed out that a black student who had an A in 8th-grade social studies was not recommended for an honors-level history class in 9th-grade history.

When the boy’s parents questioned the decision, they were told that the student had earned a B on one test during the course and the teacher made his recommendation based on that. The parents continued to press the school to allow their son to take honors-level history in 9th-grade, and finally the school agreed to do so. He did well enough to be put in Advanced Placement history class the following year.

The complaint was also sent from the Public Interest Law Center to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission on behalf of CAAP. The Upper Dublin officials are reviewing the allegations before commenting on the complaint, reports Jerome Hudson of Breitbart.

The Council of African American Parents is celebrating its 22nd anniversary as it continues to produce record numbers of “academically prepared, highly competitive students” who are going directly from high school to many of the top colleges and universities in this country and abroad.

The University of California Berkeley has identified CAAP’s parent-driven Community Based Organization (CBO) as a national model entity that continues to demonstrate the dramatic advantages of parent involvement when it comes to the academic success of their college-bound children.

UC Berkeley has a vision of equity, inclusion, and diversity that is part of a 10-year strategic plan to create a resurgence of the commitment of the campus to serve all of its state’s communities, according to its website. Faculty and staff leaders hope to fuel a campus-wide initiative on equity and inclusion.

CAAP sponsors another program known as the Personal Academic Learning System (PALS) that serves 4th- through 12th-grade students. The program supports the idea that cultural enrichment, academic excellence, and social development are the foundation for all academic success of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The program offers training in academic competitiveness, time management, test taking strategies, and study skills.

Along with teaching these skills, the program builds self-esteem, confidence, and cultural awareness, according to the organization.