The U.S. Education Department is investigating allegations of discrimination against minority students at Arlington Heights High School, federal officials said.
Agency spokesman Jim Bradshaw told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Monday that the department's Office of Civil Rights will investigate whether school officials discriminated against black and Hispanic students in disciplinary action and in opportunities to make up absences.
Bradshaw notes though that opening a complaint for an investigation does not mean the office has made a determination of the case's merits.
The Texas Education Agency closed its review of the same allegations in November without taking any action. According to a TEA letter provided by the district, the state agency found that the district that investigated the matter and provided "appropriate oversight to ensure that the rights of all students are protected."
After allegations of wrongdoing came to light at the school over the summer, the district investigated and found that students were allowed to clean and do other work at the school for class credit, that attendance records were altered, that thefts went unreported and that minority students were disproportionately disciplined.
A principal and assistant superintendent resigned as a result of the investigation. An assistant principal who was fired has filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the district, saying he was fired for alerting officials to the wrongdoings.
The Rev. Kyev Tatum filed the state and federal complaints against the district. He alleges minority students are punished more harshly than whites and don't get the same opportunities to make up grades or absences.
Clint Bond, spokesman for the Fort Worth school district, says local officials have not been asked for information concerning the federal investigation. He said the school district does not tolerate racism.