Newark teachers’ union files lawsuit to see bias report made by school district
Teachers in Newark want the school district to release information about racism and bias at a high school in Brick City, specifically against Black students.
The state's largest school district commissioned the report on racial tensions between Black and Latino students at the Newark School of Global Studies after a member of the schools’ Black student union voiced their concerns at a Board of Education meeting last year.
David Allen, of the Black Student Union, said "no child should have to walk into a space meant for education, expecting to learn, only to be met with ostracism with threats of violence, with being called the N-word, a monkey, a slave, a caricature, to have harmful, dehumanizing language levied against us in the middle of a class period."
The teachers’ union says they need to know about proposed changes, such as the district’s approach in handling student and staff issues about cultural sensitivity. The local NAACP chapter says they want to see the report too.
The union tried to request the document under the state’s Open Public Records Act, but the superintendent characterized it as an internal draft document. This means it’s exempt from OPRA. However, the superintendent responded to the student at the board meeting in 2022 and said it’s unacceptable.
John Abeigon, the president of the Newark Teachers Union, says he wants to see the report because "everything that has to do with education is our domain. We cannot trust the superintendent's leadership team to know what's best for teachers and students."
Black students make up 23% of the student body at Newark School of Global Studies while students who are Hispanic make up just over 74%, according to enrollment data from 2022.
News 12 New Jersey has reached out to the school district for comment.