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El Paso County Colorado District 49

D 49 reaches agreement with DOJ

After failing to meet compliance requirements set forth in an agreement with the United States Department of Justice in 2010, Falcon School District 49 signed a new agreement with the DOJ in October.Louis Fletcher, D 49 coordinator of cultural capacity, said a conflict ìpredominantly based on raceî prompted parental involvement and DOJ intervention; which led to an initial agreement among parties. ìWith that first agreement, the district fell a little bit short,î Fletcher said. ìThe new term simply signifies that the agreement between the DOJ and D 49 has been reached, and now we are working to be in compliance with those terms.îAccording to the districtís website, the terms of the agreement include the following:

  • Revising D 49 policies and procedures on harassment and discrimination
  • Maintaining adequate records of all incidents of racial harassment and discrimination
  • Analyzing incidents of racial harassment and discrimination to ensure that all incidents are properly identified, investigated and resolved
  • Training staff in preventing and responding to harassment and discrimination
  • Providing training to students to prevent and address harassment and discrimination
  • Including restorative justice techniques and positive behavior interventions and support in the districtís disciplinary responses to incidents of harassment and discrimination
  • Hiring a consultant to identify any additional measures the district should take to effectively address, prevent and respond to harassment and discrimination
According to the website,ìFletcher was hired Ö to ensure compliance with equal education and employment opportunities, as well as provide a liaison for the Department of Justice.îìItís not a matter of trying to be compliant with the agreement; itís more of expanding our culture to understand how we should treat people,î Fletcher said. ìMy approach is not to look back and try to fix things that happened in the past because we canít really do that. Iím looking at it more positively and making sure weíre respecting people.ìThis (hiring a coordinator of cultural capacity) isnít something being done as prescribed by the DOJ. Weíre doing things within the district because we recognize that there were issues in the past and we want to try to indemnify ourselves against that sort of thing in the future.îD 49 chief education officer Peter Hilts said, ìMy No. 1 perspective on the relationship with the Department of Justice is that we appreciate being held to the highest standard on behalf of our students. By working with a federal agency, we know that we get input on things that other districts have learned. We know that, like every community, there are areas where we donít always hold up to the ideal so we want to identify them quickly, address them decisively and correct them completely.î

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