UPDATE: CFAUSD responds to ACLU of Wisconsin complaint

The American Civil Liberties Union filed an administrative complaint against the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District Monday.
Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 11:32 AM CDT
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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - UPDATE: The CFAUSD released a statement in response to the ACLU administrative complaint filed Monday.

The Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District has received inquiries from several media representatives concerning a pupil discrimination complaint that was filed with the District yesterday by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The complaint is a pupil discrimination complaint under Wis. Stat. §118.13.  The complaint identifies specific District students, specific students’ behavior, and individual student disciplinary matters.  As a result, the complaint itself and other information concerning the students identified in the complaint are confidential pupil records under state and federal law.  For this reason, the District is providing this statement, but will not be able to honor requests for interviews at this time.

The District is committed to providing its diverse student population with the best possible education.  We have made it a priority to implement and enforce policies to address pupil discrimination, and to be inclusive throughout our process of developing those policies.  We’ve also built an entire program that is specifically dedicated to supporting our diverse student body, and to educating our students about the rights and responsibilities that all students share to prevent and address discrimination.  We aspire to provide an educational environment that is not only free of discrimination, but is welcoming to all.

Investigating and resolving discrimination complaints such as the complaint that was filed yesterday is a significant part of what we do to provide for an appropriate educational environment.  We take that responsibility seriously and pledge our best efforts to address this complaint promptly and responsibly.

A comprehensive investigation and review process for a complaint this broad and lengthy will take a considerable amount of time.  An individual generally presents complaints under District policy; however, in this situation, the ACLU appears to have assembled a number of individuals to bring their individual complaints simultaneously.  As a result, there will actually be multiple complaints to investigate and adjudicate.  The District will conduct a thorough investigation while meeting the time limits mandated by Department of Public Instruction rules.

The District will not be able to provide any additional substantive information about these complaints until further notice.

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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - The American Civil Liberties Union has released more information, including a pupil nondiscrimination complaint, regarding incidents that allegedly happened at the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District.

The documents were written by Attorney Elisabeth Lambert, an Equal Justice Works Fellow, at the ACLU. The 15-page document details four experiences by a current student and graduates of Chippewa Falls High School.

The document says the school district failed to recognize district-wide, systemic nature of harassment concerns it its schools. It also says they failed to take appropriate disciplinary actions against perpetrators of harassment. Many of the harassments are targeted towards students of color, female students and LGBTQ students.

A current Chippewa Falls High School student, says she experiences discriminatory harassment at school on a daily basis. The ACLU says the student is a Native American and has been called names such as “Redskin”, “Sacajawea” and “Pocahontas”. The student reportedly expressed concerns to staff and no actions were taken.

A 2018 graduate, is black and had routinely heard racial slurs to her and her older brothers. The ACLU says the slurs and the inaction had a severe impact on her grades and school success during her senior year.

Another 2018 graduate and says she identifies as a LGBTQ member. She tells the ACLU that she routinely heard students making derogatory jokes and comments. Her parents also requested a meeting with the school resource officer after different incidents had taken place at school.

A 2020 graduate and noted that a male student threw objects towards her. The document also says stalking and harassing conduct were targeting against her. The ACLU says the school did not take any action to protect her.

To read the full document, click here.

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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) The American Civil Liberties Union filed an administrative complaint against the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District Monday.

ACLU says the complaint was filed for “chronic failure to properly and meaningfully address pervasive instances of sexual, racial and gender-based harassment on school grounds, alleging that administrators have skirted their legal obligation to protect students by neglecting to take sufficient action when harm is reported”.

The complaint details multiple instances in which former and current students experienced racial, sexual and homophobic harassments by other students, staff and parents while on school property, according to the ACLU.

The complaint was filed on behalf of four recent Chippewa Falls High School graduates who created the Cultivate Coalition. The ACLU says the group has been advocating that the district take stronger measures against discrimination and harassments of students of color and LGBTQ+ students.

WEAU spoke with Chippewa Falls Superintendent Jeff Holmes who told us the district is reviewing the complaint but did not want to comment further at this time.

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