Sarah Ford | April 8, 2014

SPLC Demands Alabama School District End Discriminatory Practices

Source: Southern Poverty Law Center

It’s a moment that often makes J.T. uncomfortable: The moment someone asks him why he isn’t in school.

“It makes me feel like I dropped out,” J.T. said. “It’s like I have nothing to accomplish. I just feel worthless.”

But the 17-year-old Latino didn’t drop out of school. In fact, earlier this year, he twice attempted to enroll in Fort Payne High School in northeast Alabama but was denied entry. He has missed almost an entire semester of school as a result. His plans to join the military this summer have been thrown off course as well.

“I can’t believe I’m just wasting time,” he said.

The SPLC demanded today that the superintendent of Fort Payne schools end the discriminatory enrollment practices keeping J.T. out of school.

In a letter to Superintendent Jim Cunningham, the SPLC described how the student was denied enrollment in violation of federal laws that bar discrimination based on national origin, immigration status or limited English proficiency. The SPLC has demanded that the district enroll J.T. by April 14.

“Fort Payne school officials have stood in the way of our client getting an education simply because he was born in Mexico,” said Caren Short, SPLC staff attorney. “These discriminatory practices have already cost our client valuable class time. It must stop.”

J.T. attempted to enroll on Jan. 31 after moving to Alabama. The teen, who came to the United States from Mexico when he was a year old, brought a completed enrollment application, proof of residency in the school district, an immunization record and a Social Security card, according to the letter.

>> Continue Reading

Get Resources and Insights Straight To Your Inbox

Explore More Articles

Women’s Health Month

April 8, 2024

May is Women’s Health Month, a time when we focus on the importance of taking care of ourselves and our health. This month is an…

Read Article

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

April 8, 2024

May 10 marks the celebration of Military Spouse Appreciation Day, a time to honor and recognize the immense contributions made by military spouses in supporting…

Read Article

Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month

April 8, 2024

Melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer. In addition to the skin, melanoma may also occur in mucous membranes – thin, moist layers of tissue that cover surfaces…

Read Article

Get Resources and Insights Straight To Your Inbox

Receive our monthly/bi-monthly newsletter filled with information about causes, nonprofit impact, and topics important for corporate social responsibility and employee engagement professionals, including disaster response, workplace giving, matching gifts, employee assistance funds, volunteering, scholarship award program management, grantmaking, and other philanthropic initiatives.