02-16-2020  11:19 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Trump Appointees Weigh Plan to Build Pipeline in Oregon

If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves the project, which lacks state permits, it would likely set up a court battle over state's rights

Oregon Lawmakers Ask U.S. Attorney to Investigate Whether Local Police Violated Black Man’s Civil Rights

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer said this racial targeting of Michael Fesser "reflects the worst abuses of African-Americans in our nation’s modern history"

DA to Investigate West Linn Cops Handling of Wrongful Arrest

Former West Linn Police Chief Terry Timeus had his officers initiate an unwarranted, racially motivated surveillance and arrest of a Black Portland man as a favor to the chief’s fishing buddy

State and Local Leaders Push Back Against Fair Housing Changes

Trump administration proposes weakened regulation, tracking of housing discrimination

NEWS BRIEFS

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A Celebration of Portland’s Role in the Negro Leagues to be Held Thursday, Feb. 20

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Legislation Introduced to Prohibit Irresponsible Government Use of Facial Recognition Technology

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Jury decides convicted Oregon meth dealer should lose home

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Yamhill County jury has concluded that police can seize the home of a woman convicted of a felony drug crime under Oregon’s civil forfeiture law.Sheryl Sublet, 62, pleaded guilty in 2018 to to selling less than 1,000 grams of methamphetamine, The...

Police seek suspect who robbed 3 Portland banks in 1 hour

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man robbed three Portland banks in less than one hour last week, according to the Portland Police Bureau.The robberies occurred Friday, The Oregonian/Oregon Live reported.The man wore glasses, a black beanie and flannel shirt.He robbed the Bank of the West on...

OPINION

Black America is Facing a Housing Crisis

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Trump Expands Muslim Ban to Target Africans

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Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

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Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Rival Democrats accuse Bloomberg of trying to 'buy' election

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Teammates appear to stop Marega leaving after racist abuse

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The Latest: Nevada's lieutenant governor endorses Biden

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ENTERTAINMENT

Snoop Dogg apologizes to Gayle King for rant over Bryant

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Voigt shocked paper ran her photo with Freni's obituary

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Lizzo talks diversity, self-confidence and femininity

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U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Father Josh: A married Catholic priest in a celibate world

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Rains postpones Daytona 500, dampening event, Trump's visit

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Banksy's Valentine's Day mural covered after it was defaced

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McMenamins
Melissa Gray CNN

(CNN) -- Two advocacy groups filed a federal complaint Tuesday alleging a North Carolina school district's treatment of three Latino families was discriminatory because it did not provide important information in Spanish.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and Advocates for Children's Services, a project of Legal Aid of North Carolina, filed the complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office for Civil Rights.

They say that in the cases of three students and their Spanish-speaking parents, the Wake County Public School System failed to provide documents about the students' suspensions in Spanish.

That meant the parents, who speak limited English, were unable to ask questions or even appeal the suspensions, which discriminated against them on the basis of national origin and violated their civil rights, the groups say.

The school district responded by saying it has many programs in place to support and inform Latino and Spanish-speaking families. It also provided forms in Spanish,including notification of suspension, a form for parents to request information on disciplinary actions, and confirmation that a parent has made an appeal.

The school district has had the Spanish-language forms since the mid-1990s, said Samiha Khanna, spokeswoman for the district's Office of Family and Community Engagement.

After media inquiries about the groups' complaints, Superintendent Tony Tata said last month, "We have been proactively engaging all students and families in the Wake County Public School System, including those in the Latino community." North Carolina's capital, Raleigh, is in Wake County.

He added that "as a district, WCPSS has developed relationships with key community groups, leaders and media partners to support the needs of our Spanish-speaking families."

The district has several measures to help Spanish-speaking families understand school policies, including Spanish-language parental training, explanation of policies through Spanish-language media and bilingual customer service representatives.

The advocacy groups said the Spanish-language forms did not help the three families in these cases.

"Whether they gave these parents the blank forms themselves in Spanish, in no instances in these cases did they provide the form in writing with individualized information about their students in Spanish," said Sean Driscoll, spokesman for Legal Aid of North Carolina. "They may have given them the form, but the form didn't include the individualized information about their students in Spanish."

Jerri Katzerman, the deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, also said the Spanish-language forms are often filled in using English, with descriptive information about students left out.

"It's inadequate, and it certainly doesn't benefit the family who's trying to participate in the child's education," she said.

"These are the absolute core and key responsibilities of a school system," she added, especially because of the number of Latino and Spanish-speaking families in the Wake County district.

Latino students comprise 15% of the district's student population, the advocacy groups said, and students with parents who speak limited English are 7.5%.

As part of the same complaint, the Southern Poverty Law Center is also representing an unidentified class of students and their families with the same allegation of discrimination, Katzerman said.

The three students specifically represented by the advocacy groups, who are identified only by their initials, were all recommended for long-term suspensions and have mothers who speak limited English, the groups said.

The first case is that of a 12-year-old with a learning disability. The school's information about his suspension was in English, so the student's mother didn't know she could appeal, the groups said.

The second student was a ninth-grader, also with a learning disability. After she was accused of smoking marijuana on campus, the school recommended she be suspended for the rest of the school year.

The girl's mother could not understand the assistant principal when he called to discuss her daughter's suspension, and the mother was unable to ask questions, the groups said. Letters about her daughter's disciplinary actions were also in English, they said.

In the third case, the student was suspended after being accused of marijuana possession, and the notice of his suspension was sent to the student's mother in English only. The mother wanted to appeal but wasn't given information in Spanish about her son's alleged offense. The mother also requested her son be tested for special education services, but all of the written information about his eligibility was in English, they said.

By the time the mother managed to appeal her son's suspension, he had been out of school for more than three weeks because the mother had missed the deadline because of her limited English, the groups said.

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