SOMA Black Parents Workshop has been corresponding with the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the organization which performs school accreditation, regarding its civil suit against the South Orange-Maplewood School District. As a result, Black Parents Workshop is collecting complaints from parents and current and former students, teachers and administrators to forward to the Middle States Association in May.
Black Parents Workshop and the parents of four students filed a suit in February against the South Orange-Maplewood School District, alleging the district has continued to violate state and federal law by engaging in discriminatory practices targeting black students, despite its stated intent over the last several years to address the issues.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of New Jersey in Newark, asks for an array of programs and initiatives that the plaintiffs estimate would cost in excess of $12 million, in addition to compensatory damages on behalf of the student-plaintiffs.
BPW Chair Walter Fields sent the letter attached below on March 19 to the Middle States Association. The letter details BPW’s civil complaint.
Fields reported that, although the association’s “bylaws don’t allow third party complaints but individuals can file complaints,” the association provided BPW with its formal complaint form,” and we indicated to them that we would collect individual complaints from parents, current and former students, and current and former teachers and administrators, and forward the complaints to Middle States in May. They also indicated they would respond to BPW once our civil case against the district is resolved.”
“We are pleased by the immediate response of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools to our correspondence regarding the South Orange-Maplewood School District,” wrote Fields in an email response to Village Green. “Our intent is to make Middle States fully aware of the depths of the district’s failures in complying with federal and state laws, and its history and patterns of discriminatory practices and policies. Over the next month, we intend to facilitate the filing of complaints from the African American community with Middle States regarding the South Orange-Maplewood School District.”
Columbia High School completed its most recent Middle States Re-Accreditation process just a couple of years ago. Read about the process here.