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Racial tensions at Markham Middle School reach Congress

Vanessa Romo | May 28, 2014

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Janice Hahn LAUSD Markham Middle School

Janice Hahn

The racial tensions at Markham Middle School in Watts have now reached the United States Congress.

In a letter to Superintendent John Deasy sent late last week, Congresswoman Janice Hahn writes she was alerted of the conflict between the school administration and parents who feel “that African American students are treated unfairly by being sent home for issues that do not require suspension.” The conflict was reported in an LA Times article.

Parents of black students at the school have for months accused the Latino administrators, including Principal Paul Hernandez, of targeting African American students by using off-the-books suspensions to push them off the campus.

LA Unified banned willful defiance suspensions last year, urging school officials to find alternative/restorative justice means of discipline that would keep kids in school.

Hahn asks Deasy to “personally look into the issues” at Markham. The congresswoman also suggests “it might be helpful to have a meeting with parents and the school Administration to discuss any concerns.”

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