Lawyers’ Committee Investigating Amherst-Pelham’s Treatment of Parent Challenging Racial Harassment
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice has sent a public and student records request to the Amherst-Pelham Regional School District regarding the treatment a mother and her daughter received from the district this past school year. Specifically, the Lawyers’ Committee is requesting information on the district’s use of “Stay Away Orders” like the one Superintendent Maria Geryk issued against the mother after she raised concerns about racial hostility at her daughter’s school. As the letter explains:
Our civil rights laws protect children from attending racially hostile school environments. Likewise, they protect parents from retaliation when advocating for these rights. Issuing a “stay away order” via email against [the mother] after she raised concerns about the racial harassment her daughter experienced suggests such retaliation. Doing so without any stated grounds for the order or any process to appeal it also violates her most basic due process rights. These arbitrary actions make [the mother] all the more concerned about the treatment she and her daughter will receive next year even though the “stay away order” has been lifted. It also makes us concerned for the treatment other families of color may receive when advocating for their children’s rights.