The U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights division has
notified the Biloxi Public School District that it is investigating a
complaint that the district was racially discriminatory when it decided to
consolidate Nichols and Gorenflo, two predominantly African-American
elementary schools in east Biloxi.
The Department of Education on Friday notified Biloxi schools
Superintendent Dr. Paul A. Tisdale that an investigation itself does not
mean the complaint has merit. Instead, the DOE said, its Office for Civil
Rights will investigate the matter "as a neutral fact-finder, collecting and
analyzing relevant evidence from the complainant, the recipient, and other
sources, as appropriate."
Tisdale said the district would fully cooperate with the investigation.
"We've noted all along that the decision involving Nichols was
based on the same facts as the decisions that involved Beauvoir, Michel and
Lopez schools," Tisdale said. "It was a question of economics, not race. It's unfortunate that, almost five years after Hurricane Katrina, school enrollment is down
22 percent overall, and down 45 percent in east Biloxi."
The department's letter to Biloxi Public Schools did not identify the
News and notes
Late registration: Parents who did not register their children for public school on Thursday or Friday can do so any day this week without penalty. Students who fail to register this week must miss the first official day of school. To find out what information parents must bring to registration, click here.
Mark your calendars: Parents can learn how to prepare their children for organized sports thanks to an upcoming program sponsored by the Excel by 5 Coalition, the city's Parks and Recreation Department and the National Alliance for Youth Sports. To learn more about the Start Smart/Grow Smart program, click here.