Federal Department Investigating Potential Discrimination at ELP - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Federal Department Investigating Potential Discrimination at ELPS


The federal government is investigating allegations of racial bias in the East Lansing Public School District. 6 News found out Thursday the US Department of Education is investigating potential discrimination in the ELPS.

The complaint alleges the district's decision to close Red Cedar Elementary School in 5-years discriminates against students of color.

Liesel Carlson chose to send her kids to Red Cedar Elementary.

"One of the reasons we chose Red Cedar is for that multicultural experience. That global perspective," said Carlson, co-president of the Red Cedar PTA. 

When East Lansing Public Schools decided to close Red Cedar in 2016 a complaint was filed with the federal government, saying it discriminated against students of color.

With 65% of the student body being non-white, this is the last remaining school in East Lansing where the minority falls in the majority.

"One of my children is non-white and we chose this place because I didn't want him to be in the minority. It's white privilege that they chose this school to close," said Kari Icewander.

The Office for Civil Rights contacted the district on Monday, so East Lansing school officials met Thursday to discuss their strategy.

"We're in the process of preparing information we've been requested to prepare," said David Chapin superintendent of ELPS.

District civil rights attorneys will investigate whether race motivated the district's decision.

"If these concerns are out there in the community, this gives us the perfect opportunity to address those concerns," said Chapin.

No one knows who filed the complaint, but Carlson says she thanks them for standing up. 

"My kids got so much out of Red Cedar," said Carlson.

The ELPS district must respond to the Office for Civil Rights by November 23.

Stay with 6 News. We'll keep you up-to-date as the investigation unfolds.

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