WEST MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD)–Ouachita Parish Schools are under an investigation by the United States Department of Health’s Office of Civil Rights for racial harassment and retaliation. OCR is investigating to ensure the district is in compliance with current Civil Rights Laws.

Amber Levin’s said her son was bullied and racially harassed since starting at Good Hope Middle School.

“I’ve been dealing with this for months and it’s incredibly frustrating! My kids are Hispanic. I was nervous that something would happen to my kids in these schools with the culture that they have, and they just dismissed me and told me to go away. So nothing became of that and I contacted the Office for Civil Rights because I didn’t think that was right,” said Levin.

During an investigation, OCR is a neutral fact-finder. OCR will collect and analyze relevant evidence from the complainant, the recipient and other sources, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights website.

OCR is investigating for the following reasons:

  • Discrimination against student during the 2021-22 school year by failing to take
    appropriate responsive action to address harassment directed toward the student because
    of his national origin. Student referred to as “illegal immigrant”
    and “Mexican” in a derogatory tone. Student punched in the face by a peer who had
    previously directed derogatory statements toward the student referring to his ethnicity.
  • Discrimination against the student on the basis of disability by failing to provide the
    student with the services identified as necessary for him in his Individual
    Accommodation Plan during the 2021-22 school year, both while the student was
    attending school in person and after placing the student on homebound services due
    to Ouachita Parish School’s failure to take appropriate responsive action to address harassment of the
    student at school.
  • OPS retaliated against parent and student because of reports of harassment
    directed toward the student when, during the 2021-22 school year, OPS employees made
    intimidating comments toward the student, and engaged in threatening and
    intimidating behavior.

“I refused to send him back to Good Hope Middle School. I don’t trust the administration,” explained Levin.

Levin hopes her speaking up on this matter will encourage other parents to do the same if their child also experienced harassment in Ouachita Parish Schools.

For more information about the U.S Department of Health and Human Services OCR’s, click here.