African-American children are disproportionately arrested and discriminated against in Jefferson Parish, La., public schools, and the problem has gotten worse, reports Nola.com. The charged was leveled this week in a Southern Poverty Law Center complaint filed on behalf of four black students, following up on a 2012 filing to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. The office was reportedly looking into the allegations of discrimination, though no outcome has been announced.
New data show that in the 2013-14 school year, black students comprised 80 percent of all school-based arrests and law enforcement referrals, even though they made up about 42 percent of Jefferson’s student population. The figure was up slightly from 2012, when 76 percent of all students arrested were black. The new complaint was filed with both the U.S. Justice Department and the federal Department of Education. Attorneys for the law center said the new information “demonstrate(s) that far from being resolved, the problem of discriminatory arrest and law enforcement referral policies persists and has actually worsened in Jefferson Parish.”