update deskSchools & Higher Education

Title VI investigations at UMass-Amherst and public schools in Maryland, Minnesota

The U.S. Department of Education received complaints of discrimination involving shared ancestry.

An aerial view of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Credit: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.
An aerial view of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Credit: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced three educational institutions that it will review for potential violations of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which criminalized discrimination based on shared ancestry, including antisemitism.

The Montgomery County Public Schools of Rockville, Md., and Eden Prairie Public Schools of Eden Prairie, Minn., will face investigations. The OCR does not provide details of the alleged discrimination.

Bethany Mandel, a candidate for the Montgomery school board, told JNS that “our board has shown they have lost focus on educating the children of the community and the latest evidence is this new office of civil-rights investigation. As a candidate for the [board], I will bring focus back to education and will not tolerate antisemitism or discrimination of any kind.”

Mandel said the board’s “methodology of ignoring issues in hopes they go away is not effective and is costing taxpayers money in addition to harming children.”

Earlier this month, Hajur El-Haggan, a teacher at the Montgomery school district, spoke out about the school putting her on leave due to an email signature that stated “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” A district spokesperson said school policy was that no personal quotes were allowed in email signatures. Reportedly four other district employees have also recently been put on administrative leave for email or social media activity.

The University of Massachusetts-Amherst also received a complaint, filed by Campus Reform, citing the behavior of anti-Israel student protesters.

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