Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) thought a meeting with community leaders to be held on Tuesday was a step in the right direction toward addressing concerns about the discipline and achievement of African-American students. However, a complaint filed just five days before the scheduled meeting alleges AACPS isn’t doing enough to satisfy concerns.
On July 7, the Anne Arundel County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Education. The complaint alleges that “African-American students and teachers were subject to disparate treatment” by AACPS and African-American students were disproportionately suspended or expelled.
The county branch of the NAACP made the complaint public on Monday morning but as of 11 a.m., schools spokesman Bob Mosier said he hadn’t seen it.
Mosier said Superintendent Kevin Maxwell reached out to representatives of the African-American community regarding concerns over disciplinary numbers in an effort to establish a collaborative partnership. A meeting, which is not open to the public, was scheduled for Tuesday (today) long before the complaint was filed.
"NAACP is filing this complaint on behalf of African American students in the AACPS system who have been categorically denied equal education opportunities as a result of disparate treatment in disciplinary actions," wrote Jacqueline Boone Allsup, president of the Anne Arundel County NAACP in a letter to Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary of the Office for Civil Rights.
In addition to the county school system, the NAACP complaint also names the Anne Arundel County government and the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County as being "complicit" in the treatment of African-American students.
The NAACP also filed a complaint in 2004 with the Office for Civil Rights and, as a result, a mediated agreement outlined a plan to close the achievement gap between African-American and white students in the county. However, community members still have concerns about the discipline and achievement of African-American students.
“When students are disproportionately suspended or expelled, they are disproportionately learning,” said Wanda Stansbury, who serves on the Office for Civil Rights Advisory Committee, in a release.
Stansbury added that it’s time to “get serious about the elimination of the achievement gap in Anne Arundel County. Our children's future is not negotiable."