Feds Investigating East Aurora Schools For Racial Bullying
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EAST AURORA, Ill. (CBS) — It’s a case of racial discrimination you don’t see every day. Allegations of bullying in East Aurora have caught the attention of federal investigators from the Department of Education. Dorothy Tucker reports.
Anna Forth was a student at an East Aurora school. “They’d call me white girl, the b-word,” she said.
Karen Vilioria was also a student in the district. “They hit me a lot. Like in the face and pulled my hair and threw me on the floor,” she said.
Two ugly accusations of bullying from girls who attended two different schools in East Aurora. Anna Forth went to Waldo.
“I would wake up every morning and almost get sick,” Forth said.
Karen Viloria was a student at Cowherd.
“I cut myself on my wrist…Like lines going like that,” Viloria said. She said she did it because she felt worthless.
When asked why Viloria thought she was being bullied she said, “I honestly think it’s because I’m not Mexican.” Attorney Brooke Whitted believes the girls were the victims of racism, Viloria because she was Asian, Forth because she was Causasian.
“That’s discriminatory bullying and school districts are obligated to do something to eliminate it,” Whitted said.
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The parents of both girls say they complained to school officials and each case the schools transferred the girls to new schools, Simmonds middle school. Their lawyer says that’s not enough.
“They didn’t remedy the problem as is required by the federal law,” Whitted added.
So the attorney sent these letters to the department of education, office of civil rights…complaining about the bullying going in District 131.
In response the agency agreed to launch an investigation based on allegations the students were “verbally and physically harassed”…because of their “race
“I think what got their attention is the same thing that initially got my attention. This is happening in two buildings,” Whitted explained. “It says that the administration is tolerant district wide of casual violence.”
School administrators declined to comment. Both families welcome the investigation. It means a team of law students will spend the summer reviewing the district’s records and interviewing students to determine if there are other victims.
Thomas Forth just wants his daughter safe. “And I’ll do anything I can to make that happen,” Forth said.
“I just want to see like everything change over there,” Viloria added.
Whitted says as part of the investigation the district may have to improve its bullying policies, train staff and develop an anti-bullying program for students. if it fails to improve…the district could lose federal funding.