DOJ launches civil rights probe into Texas schools

The Department of Justice is launching a civil rights investigation into alleged civil rights violations in schools in Southlake, Texas, federal officials said Friday.

The move comes after lawyers representing students, as well as several African-American parents, filed a complaint accusing the district of discrimination.

The alleged violations include the suspension, expulsion and expulsion hearings being held without any due process; excessive suspensions for students; a lack of a law enforcement liaison officer; and no verbal prior notification by police of school-based arrests or disciplinary actions.

Southlake ISD Superintendent Dan Levette issued a statement Friday in which he disputed some of the allegations.

“The District takes very seriously the allegations in the complaint filed by plaintiffs’ counsel, and has taken a range of corrective actions to minimize any negative outcomes for any student or family,” Levette said. “The District is cooperating fully with DOJ on this matter.”

This is the second time the DOJ has made a civil rights probe into a public school in Texas. The U.S. Attorney’s Office last year opened one into Houston-area schools.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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