“The district has nothing new to report at this time concerning the allegations,” lawyer David Lampe said in an email. “It is my understanding that representatives from OCR will not interview staff until sometime early next year.”
OCR opened an investigation in May.
The students and parents were interviewed on Nov. 19 at Bethel A.M.E. Church in Lebanon by OCR lawyers, according to their lawyer, Robert Newman.
“It only takes a small group to make life difficult for minorities,” Newman said last week. “I don’t think it’s a school-wide issue.”
OCR enforces civil rights laws established to encourage equal treatment and discourage racism and harassment in schools.
While preparing to interview school staff, OCR officials would also be reviewing “massive documents,” according to Newman.
Once the school-staff interviews have been completed, Newman said OCR could schedule a hearing, unless the district agreed to conduct special programs to discourage racist bullying in the school system.
A symposium encouraging racial reconciliation was held at Colerain High School, north of Cincinnati, to settle another recent complaint, Newman said.
“Really it’s up to the U.S. Department of Education as to what kind of resolution should occur,” he said.
OCR typically decides cases in six months, but a spokesman declined to set a timeline for resolution of the Lebanon complaints.
Meanwhile the students are attending school in Lakota, Middletown or being home schooled.
Newman expressed hope for a quick resolution but declined to predict when the cases would be concluded.
“I hope so,” he said. “I don’t know.”