Acadian Middle student’s discipline is focus of federal investigation

The discipline of an Acadian Middle School student is the center of a federal investigation of a race-based complaint against the Lafayette Parish School System.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights notified Superintendent Pat Cooper last month about the complaint and requested information specific to four disciplinary incidents involving an Acadian Middle student, according to a copy of the June 12 letter obtained by The Advocate.

Portions of the letter that identified the student’s name and other information, including the nature of the incidents, were redacted in the U.S. Department of Education’s response to the newspaper’s Freedom of Information Act request.

Cooper told The Advocate earlier this month that the complaint was related to one student and one incident.

The Office of Civil Rights requested information related to the student’s complete disciplinary file for the 2013-14 school year and information related to four specific incidents. The department also requested:

Information on any policies related to the involvement of the Lafayette Police Department in disciplinary incidents.

Three years’ worth of Lafayette Parish School System student arrest information specific to theft of property on school grounds.

Discipline policies for the past three years and explanations of changes.

Other information related to disciplinary procedures.

In addition, the department requested school-by-school enrollment data related to race and a breakdown of school-by-school discipline data including name, grade level and race of disciplined students.

The extensive request for information also includes student race information related to retention, graduation and dropout rates, copies of past grievances lodged about disciplinary actions, and copies of board meeting minutes related to discussion of discipline grievances.

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