Ottumwa school district to make ‘systemic improvements’ after civil rights violation

The Ottumwa Community School district violated federal law regarding civil rights, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 9:31 AM CST
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - The Ottumwa Community School District says it is working to make “systemic improvements” after a U.S. Department of Education investigation found the district violated federal law regarding civil rights.

The Department of Education’s investigation came after a complaint against the district alleged some White students subjected a Black middle school student to racist harassment in the last two school years.

This included repeated use of numerous racial slurs, using the term “KKK” and mimicking George Floyd’s death.

The department said this caused the student to suffer emotional harm, and the district didn’t do enough to protect the student.

It will now pay the student’s family, review its policy to provide more training to staff, and more.

In a statement, the district said it has worked with the Office of Civil Rights to make systemic improvements to the district’s policies and procedures to ensure equity for all students.

“We will continue to focus on equity for every student by expanding how we gather student voices, reviewing our policies and procedures, and ensuring our stakeholders know how to report issues of harassment that could occur in our schools,” the district wrote in the statement. “In the weeks to come, we will continue to review and train our staff on how to better identify issues of harassment and how to build a safe, supportive and collaborative culture.”