BY JENNIFER GUY
Los Alamos Public Schools
On March 16, 2022, Los Alamos Public Schools received notification that a parent from Taos, New Mexico had filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in which she alleged that the Los Alamos Public Schools had failed to appropriately investigate or address her allegation that at an October 2021 sporting event, an LAPS player had made a racial slur towards a Taos player.
When LAPS received the initial complaint in October of 2021, about a week after that sporting event had taken place, the District took action to investigate and provided the parent with the investigation findings. Though all team players were reminded of conduct expectations, no disciplinary action taken against the accused student because there was no evidence found to substantiate the claim. That investigation also found that several Los Alamos players and coaches had complained during the game that some adults in the stands on the opposing side had made inappropriate comments and racial slurs towards our players. Those claims also could not be corroborated.
While we believed we had promptly and properly investigated to the best of our ability after learning about the allegation, LAPS also fully cooperated with the OCR investigation and made players, coaches, and other staff available for interviews. LAPS and OCR discussed how we might improve our policies and regulations and discussed more detailed training for our staff on how to handle reports of racism, discrimination, or bullying. Ultimately, the OCR and LAPS entered into a resolution agreement that included making revisions to certain LAPS policies and regulations, and also to provide OCR-approved training for staff and for administrators on how to investigate these types of complaints. We have completed those resolution activities and are pleased that the matter was closed successfully on September 11, 2023, with no findings against the District.
The LAPS school board was informed of the OCR investigation and resolution, and we have been grateful for the support and guidance that we received from the Office of Civil Rights. Our District always works to improve our practices and create the best, inclusive educational opportunities for all students.