MISHAWAKA, Ind. — The Penn Harris Madison School Corporation admitted to violating the Civil Rights of students during a recent investigation by the U.S. Department of Education. The issue was investigated following a story by REAL News Michiana earlier this year that led to a complaint being filed by a parent.
In March, multiple PHM middle schools promoted a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) event for young girls being hosted at the University of Notre Dame. While the event claimed to be for all girls, the registration page for the day-long event appeared to show that only straight white children would be forced to pay to attend. However, girls of color and boys who identify as girls were to be offered “scholarships” to pay for the registration fee.
“(The Office of Civil Rights) notified the Corporation of this complaint on June 2, 2023. On September 18th, 2023, the Corporation confirmed that going forward, it will not promote any conferences, camps, or other opportunities that exclude students based on sex, race, or any other protected characteristic, in the District’s newsletter,” a letter from the Department of Education reads.
The event was promoted in Discovery Middle School’s electronic newsletter, Archer update, and contained a flyer for the One-Day STEM Conference for Girls at Notre Dame. The not-so-fine-print of the flyer makes it clear that while the program was open to white girls, they will be discriminated against.
“Partnering with Techbridge Girls, we seek to serve Black, Indigenous, and all girls of color, which includes cis girls, trans youth, gender nonconforming, and/or nonbinary youth who experience(d) girlhood and economic insecurity as part of their journey,” the flyer for the April 22nd event reads in part.
The registration section for the event then offers scholarships for children wanting to attend.
“Scholarship priority will be given to Black, Indigenous, and all girls of color, including cis girls, trans youth, gender-nonconforming, and/or nonbinary youth who experience(d) girlhood and economic insecurity as part of their journey,” the registration form explains.
Even though PHM admitted to violating student Civil Rights, according to policies within the OCR Division of the Department of Education, issues that appear to be resolved are dismissed. Since PHM agreed not to promote any more racist events, the OCR dismissed the case.
However, just last week, RNM published a story about another event that excludes white students. And, according to sources, a parent is currently in the process of filing another Civil Rights complaint.
On Friday, Penn High School hosted an event this week excluding college bound students solely based on their race. The event invite was sent to all juniors and seniors, however, only black students were welcome.
“Mr. Lawrence Gidan from Goshen College will be coming to Penn this Friday, 9/15 to speak to juniors and seniors, who identify as Black/African-American and have a GPA of at least 2.5.” The message from the Penn High School Counseling department stated. “This meeting will include numerous Goshen College opportunities along with empowerment in attending college. Mr. Gidan will bring ‘swag’ too!… T-shirts, pens/pencils, brochures.”
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