Friday, July 7, 2017

Charter school’s refusal to admit students lacking uniforms wasn’t its first violation | The Lens

Charter school’s refusal to admit students lacking uniforms wasn’t its first violation | The Lens:

Charter school’s refusal to admit students lacking uniforms wasn’t its first violation


When Sophie B. Wright Charter School barred two homeless students from attending class because they lacked uniforms this spring, it wasn’t the first such incident.
Nor was the Louisiana Department of Education’s May letter to the charter group its first warning that its actions violate federal law.
Emails obtained by The Lens show Meghan Garvey, the managing director for the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, alerted the state in 2015 to three incidents involving homeless Wright students who needed uniform help.
Last year, Wright served about 500 students in eighth through 12th grades. Like all charters, it’s overseen by a nonprofit board of directors, but it still has to answer to a state authorizing agency for compliance in broad categories, such as equitable treatment of students. Wright’s authorizer is the state-run Recovery School District.
Laura Hawkins, the Recovery School District’s deputy chief of staff, said the state is aware of the 2015 incidents.






“Sophie B. Wright was verbally warned for the incident that took place two years ago,” Hawkins told the Lens Wednesday.
Hawkins declined an interview, but answered some questions via email. She did not clarify which of the three incidents triggered the warning or if multiple warnings were issued.
Charter Director Sharon Clark did not respond to a request for comment. Efforts to reach members of the school’s board of directors were unsuccessful.
In August 2015, Garvey wrote to Torry Chatman, a manager of school performance on the state’s charter accountability team. Garvey provided two Wright student applications showing they requested uniform assistance. In subsequent correspondence, she explained they had been kept out of school.
“My concern is not only for these two children but for all children who attend this school,” Garvey wrote on Sept. 4, 2015.

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