The racial unrest dividing the nation has not spared the Mamaroneck School District.
A federal civil rights lawsuit has been filed on behalf of A.A., a 15-year-old African-American teenager, and his now 14-year-old sister, B.A., against the Mamaroneck Union Free School District and Mamaroneck High School “for their indifference to years of racial harassment.”
The lawsuit (filed anonymously to protect the children’s privacy) alleges “school administrators took inadequate steps to ameliorate pervasive racism,” according to a press release from Andrew Wilson and Emma L. Freeman, lawyers for the plaintiffs.
In the complaint, specific examples of taunting and racism are reported throughout the two children’s 2nd- 9th grade years. The complaint says the children were eventually taken out of the schools and home schooled.
Through the years, the Mamaroneck Union Free School District has been the subject of several investigations for racial discrimination by state and federal agencies, including by the Federal Office of Civil Rights and the State Education Department.
In 2011, two Kindergarten families at Central School raised concerns about the racial and ethnic make-up of a particular Kindergarten class. The District would later announce the class placement guidelines to be race-neutral, contrary to the report by the Federal Office of Civil Rights.
Concerns were raised again in 2019, when local parent David Martin, a Mamaroneck resident with two children in the District, reported that his daughter and two other black students, who attend Hommocks Middle School in Larchmont, were called the n-word by a white classmate at an after-school program.
Martin addressed the School Board and recounted the taunt involving his daughter.
A week after that School Board meeting, Schools Superintendent Robert Shaps sent an apologetic letter to the community saying, “To be perfectly clear: the District did not initially react properly to this matter.”
In the latest case, “The School District did not stop it,” reads the complaint. “The School Board did not stop it. The schools’ administrators did not stop it. Instead, Defendants made vague reassurances and offered platitudes about inclusiveness and diversity. Any action they took was insufficient to curb the daily racial harassment and discrimination A.A. and B.A. faced.”
A District spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on the latest allegations.