CHICAGO—A Latino advocacy group has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court accusing the Calumet Public School District of providing an inferior bilingual education program.
The lawsuit filed Thursday by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund alleges the school district is discriminating against 60 Latino students in need of bilingual education. There are about 1,100 students in the district’s three schools.
“The state law requires that a program be put in place to deal with the needs of language minorities and they have not,” said Patricia Mendoza, the attorney representing the students. “They say they have a program in place, but it is shameful to say the least.”
Calumet school district Chief Administrator Jerome Roberts was unavailable for comment.
The lawsuit charges the district’s elementary schools have failed to properly evaluate children, failed to maintain adequate bilingual programs and failed to communicate with parents in their native language.
Instead of correcting problems in the bilingual program, the district placed Latino students at lower grade levels than their skills required or put them in special education classes, the lawsuit alleges.
In addition to the school district, the state Board of Education and Superintendent Glenn McGee are also named as defendants.
McGee spokesman Lee Milner said the board’s staff has not seen the lawsuit and he could not comment on it.