ACLU alleges racism at Eureka school district

EUREKA — A civil liberties group has accused a Northern California school district of pervasive racism and of condoning weekly traditions in which female students are groped.

The allegations are contained in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court against Eureka City Schools by the American Civil Liberties Union, The Times-Standard of Eureka reported (http://bit.ly/1ceqFBk).

According to the lawsuit, school officials have ignored complaints of racial taunting and bullying and disproportionately disciplined minority students. It also alleges district staff have witnessed, but done nothing about the groping traditions at one district middle school in which students — both male and female — slap others students' buttocks and breasts.

"It's an ongoing part of the student culture," said Michael Harris, a senior attorney for the National Center for Youth Law, which brought the suit in conjunction with the ACLU on behalf of four teenage students who are black and Native American.

The students are not named in the lawsuit, which seeks monetary damages and administrative changes.

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