Latino, Black students reach settlement in KCOE lawsuit involving discrimination

Posted at 3:51 PM, May 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-01 22:18:36-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A discrimination lawsuit filed against the Kern High School District, Superintendent of Schools, The Office of Education and the State in 2014 has now been settled.

Community groups representing Latino and Black students filed the lawsuit claiming the Kern County Office of Education discriminated against those specific minority students.

According to court documents, the lawsuit alleged violation of educational service gaps, failure to comply with independent study programs, and violations of limitations on who may be enrolled in community schools.

On May 1, the agreement was finalized calling for enhanced communication with parents and students regarding KCOE-operated schools, enrollment options, and available instructional methods at the various school sites.

The agreement also provides periodic internal review of data collected by KCOE. KCOE has also agreed to expand its online classroom option to include all core content areas at school sites where there is no traditional classroom. Lastly, five of the student plaintiffs who were enrolled in and/or referred to KCOE-operated schools will be offered career counseling and online career development instruction in remediation for alleged educational violations.

In a statement regarding the settlement, KCSOS Mary Barlow said:

“We are pleased that we were able to work collaboratively with the plaintiffs’ representatives to resolve the few remaining issues in this lawsuit, and to agree on enhanced communication and coordination with parents, students, and school districts regarding high-quality, student-focused options we offer to students in Kern County."