Civil Rights Complaint Filed Against DISD

Hillcrest High School
Hillcrest High School | Image by Dallas ISD

A Title VI civil rights complaint has been filed with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights by a local student claiming that his school district enabled harassment and discrimination against Jewish students.

The 17-page complaint was filed by StandWithUs and a current Dallas ISD student enrolled at Hillcrest High School. The complaint is dated April 9.

StandWithUs is an “international, non-partisan education organization that supports Israel and fights antisemitism,” per the organization’s website.

“[T]he evidence demonstrates that, far from eliminating the pervasively hostile environment for Jewish students and protecting them from harassment based on shared ancestry, DISD has essentially sanctioned such harassment and enabled it to fester unhindered. As of the time of this complaint, and as a direct result of DISD’s deliberate indifference, Co-Complainant continues to face harassment from other DISD students based on his shared Jewish ancestry,” the official complaint reads.

The complaint noted that the student was called things like “dirty Jew,” heard other students praising Hitler, and had reported to the administration swastika drawings on campus. The student claimed that the administration knew about the alleged antisemitism but did not take action to address the issue.

StandWithUs legal director Yael Lerman said they composed a letter asking the school to implement antisemitism training, but the school never responded, reported KERA News.

Dallas ISD spokesperson Robyn Harris said that the school district will not comment on matters related to student privacy and has not formally received the complaint. She claimed that Dallas ISD has “zero tolerance for such behavior.”

“Dallas ISD prides itself on fostering a diverse and inclusive environment that celebrates all ethnicities, religions, cultures, and backgrounds,” Harris said, according to The Dallas Morning News.

The complaint was filed several months after Israel’s war with the terrorist organization Hamas began following the latter’s terrorist attack in southern Israel.

Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde condemned the October 7 terrorist attack against Israel in a press release last year, stating that discrimination of any kind would not be tolerated in Dallas ISD.

“Antisemitism, anti-Muslim, anti-Asian, racism, or discrimination of any kind has no place in Dallas ISD. That is why we must not be silent; we must live out our human rights and responsibilities by choosing to be upstanders, not bystanders. Every student should be welcomed and embraced in Dallas ISD,” she said.

DX reached out to Dallas ISD but did not receive a response by publication.

Dallas ISD, which has struggled with student achievement outcomes, has been losing students to educational alternatives for years now. The district’s loss of students to charters, homeschooling, and other districts may partly be attributed to its underwhelming performance. Some 41% of Dallas ISD students, for example, scored at grade level on the STAAR exam in the 2021-2022 school year. The statewide average was 48%, according to the Texas Education Agency. Furthermore, almost 20% of the district’s graduating Class of 2022 failed to earn a diploma in four years despite the hard work of the school system’s dedicated teachers.

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