Following allegations of discrimination that gave rise to an investigation by the US Department of Justice Civil Liberties Division, a Vermont school district on Thursday reached a settlement agreement.
The American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Vermont division filed a complaint with the state’s human rights commission stating that a Black student had been harassed and discriminated against by a peer between 2019 and 2020.
In a Thursday press release, the DOJ concluded that “the district knew of, and did not respond sufficiently to, individualized harassment and a broader hostile educational environment in Twin Valley Middle-High School.” Under the settlement agreement, Twin Valley agreed to change policies and procedures regarding peer harassment, assess school climate and culture and improve training for employees on how to deal with and investigate complaints of harassment.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division commented:
Pervasive racial and sex-based harassment in public schools violates the Constitution’s most basic promise of equal protection. This agreement will help ensure that Black and LGBTQ students can thrive in a safe and supportive educational environment going forward. No student deserves to be subject to unlawful and harmful bullying or harassment, especially once they enter the schoolhouse door.
Twin Valley Schoool District said it looks “forward to partnering with the entire Twin Valley community in ensuring our schools are free of discrimination and are welcoming to all.”