Lebanon schools settle federal racial harassment case

Lebanon City Schools agreed to take a series of steps to settle a racial harassment case filed more than two years ago with the U.S. Department of Education.

In a settlement with the department’s Office of Civil Rights, the district has agreed to issue an anti-harassment statement sent to parents, published in district newsletters and posted in prominent locations in the community and on the district website.

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In addition, the district is to revise its policies on racial discrimination and harassment and provide an employee training program on racial discrimination and harassment for approval by the federal regulators.

Also, the district is to form districtwide and student committees to “foster a positive educational climate free of racial discrimination and harassment,” according to the settlement signed on Aug. 22 by Superintendent Todd Yohey.

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“This agreement will become effective immediately upon the signature of the district’s representative below,” according to the settlement.

The school district has already been working on building diversity awareness for two years, Yohey said Monday.

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“The Lebanon City School District is glad to have this case finally settled. The allegations referenced in the case occurred a few years ago and have led to a greater awareness throughout the school community. We have been working with the Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center for over two years and will continue to engage our students and faculty in diverse and global education,” Yohey said in a statement.

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Most of the claims involved the junior high, although there were claims involving the high school and messages posted on the Instagram social network.

Robert Newman, the lawyer representing the students and families who filed four complaints with the federal office, said the district also settled individual claims approved by the Warren County Probate Court.

The families left the district and their children are enrolled in school elsewhere, Newman said.

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