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Immigrant Students Claim Discrimination at Dover City Schools

Carla Birney

An immigrant rights advocacy group has filed a class-action federal civil rights lawsuit against a Tuscarawas County school district. StateImpact Ohio’s Michelle Faust reports the court documents allege the Dover City School District failed to educate and systematically discriminated against Latino students.

Plaintiffs allege Dover school administrators gave inadequate instruction to English-language learner students, and that records tracking which teachers taught those students were falsified. The suit also claims students were actively encouraged to drop out. Jeff Stewart is the director of the Ohio Immigrant Worker Project — the advocacy group that is suing.

"They’re being encouraged not to take classes that will actually have content which will actually count towards their graduation.

"Some people in the schools have an attitude that these children are just not capable of learning.”

The suit was filed by two parents and two students, but the court filing estimates 125 students could have been impacted over a three-year period ending this school year. They allege and that records tracking which teachers taught those students were falsified, that coursework did not advance students towards graduation, and administrators encouraged students to drop out of school.

Dover Superintendent Carla Birney released a statement through her lawyer saying the district will follow the legal process, and that the quotes attributed to her in the filing are “absolutely false.”