Statement Regarding Office Of Civil Rights Complaint

LAPS School Board President

There has been some discussion among the community regarding a complaint that was filed to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in late 2021.  There are statements and speculation around what the incident was, or what the responsibilities of involved parties should have been.  There are also rumors surrounding the actions that were taken.  I would like to shine a light on this issue by providing some insight within the bounds with which I am comfortable.  It is with tremendous reluctance that I speak on this issue, as I do not believe it is in the best interest of the accused, or any potential investigation, to promote speculation or muddy the waters in any way.  However, now that the Office of Civil Rights has closed the complaint, I believe we could benefit from clearing the air.  

In late 2021, an incident was alleged regarding student misconduct and the district investigation procedures that prompted a citizen of Taos to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights.  This complaint prompted an investigation by their office. The Los Alamos Public School District cooperated fully with the investigation and decided to voluntarily enter into a resolution to address the complaint despite there being no OCR findings during their initial investigation phase. This included enhanced and continued training for staff, and also updating the discrimination policy. 

The School Board was made aware of this issue when the complaint was first filed, and updated when we entered into the joint resolution.  There was discussion surrounding the next steps, as well as the impact on the students.  Should this complaint have evolved into an OCR finding or legal action, our premature public disclosure may have caused undue stress or harm to the accused, or compromised an investigation with rumors.  

We, as the governing body, recognized that the next steps were to cooperate with the OCR and allow our administration to do their job.  Our trust was placed in the professionals in our district, and they acted accordingly to resolve the complaint to the OCRs expectations. 

If I could rewind time, I would not change our actions, except for maybe following up for more regular updates.. There is always room for growth, but it would not sit well with me if I found a student was being harassed or abused based on an accusation, because we felt the need to make public a complaint we received. We will continue with preventative training and fight racism and discrimination whenever it arises. We will also always look for ways to stop it before it happens. I will never advocate for disclosure at the potential risk of divulging personal information, nor compromise investigation integrity.