WINCHESTER, TN (WSMV) – Changes may soon be coming to a Middle Tennessee school district after the State Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights discovered what it calls a “racially hostile environment.” “.
The state’s year-long investigation included interviews with students, administrators, principals, teachers, and other staff members of Franklin County schools.
New documents from the state show the district violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
A civil rights complaint has been formally filed with the State Department of Education against the Franklin County High School Board and its Superintendent of Schools.
Shanae Willliams, Franklin County High School alumnus and advocate, told News4.
News4 investigators obtained a copy of the 26-page findings from Shanae Williams, a Franklin County High School alum and advocate who filed the complaint against the school district.
“I was a little relieved. I think they forgot about us because it’s been over a year,” said Williams.
“Racism has existed in Winchester for too long,” said Shanae Williams, a resident of Franklin County.
The state has detected a number of incidents of racial harassment at both Franklin County High School and North Middle School, resulting in what it calls a “racially hostile environment.”
State investigation revealed that, on occasion, Black students were referred to by white students as “N” multiple times. The investigation also determined that the district was notified of these incidents and did not take reasonable steps to eliminate the problem.
School Superintendent Stanley Bean acknowledges that more needs to be done.
A woman fighting to change the Rebel mascot at Franklin County High believes the school board is stalling on making a decision.
“We will work to create more or better policies to deal with civil rights complaints. And it’s necessary. It’s essential,” says Bean.
The investigation also found no evidence that the school’s Rebel mascot, fight songs, or symbols created racial animosity in the high school.
“We are pleased to hear that there is no evidence that the mascot or battle song or any other symbol is creating a racially hostile environment,” Bean said.
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – The Franklin County School Board voted to keep Rebel as the mascot of Franklin County High School.
“I am not surprised. We are in Tennessee. They fought to the teeth to keep the confederacy symbols, even in the capital. So it’s not surprising to me that they don’t see anything wrong with an interstate relationship with a school,” Williams said.
The school system is currently working to respond to the state’s findings.
“The way we will do that will be to talk to other school systems. What do they have to investigate title six complaints, Civil Rights complaints? “And get more information to develop our own policies,” says Bean.
As for Williams, she said the state’s investigation showed progress.
“At this point, we have a small victory. I feel like with the progress we’ve made we have to keep it hot. We have to be represented,” Williams said.
State documents say that if neither party files an appeal within 15 days, the state will contact the school district to discuss developing a settlement.
WSMV.com now is with you on the go! Get the latest news and video updates, 4WARN weather forecasts, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and more from News4 Nashville.
Copyright 2022 WSMV. Copyright Registered.