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Bastrop ISD to be investigated for racial discrimination

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Bastrop father of two, Steve Miller tells FOX 7 that African American students have the lowest test scores of any demographic in the Bastrop school district.

He says there's a reason for that.

"If you come to school and it's a hostile environment, are you really gonna learn? If you come into school and you're a maintenance man and you're a teacher, administrator and you're facing a hostile environment, are you really going to do your job?" Miller said.

Miller says racial discrimination against students and employees in the district has been happening for years. But the catalyst was in 2011 when the Bastrop Middle School principal called African American students over the intercom to come talk about their low tests scores in the school library.

Catina White-Higgins works for Bastrop ISD. She has never experienced any discrimination at work but her daughter was one of the kids called into library that time.

"My daughter was there and she was highly affected by it as I was also highly affected by it. I felt that it was something that could have been done differently," she said.

She says her daughter passed the test. So she doesn't understand why she was there.

Now, with the help of the NAACP, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights out of Dallas will be visiting the school district on February 25.

Miller is hopeful for the future.

"I think we are on the right track. You know, it's a wonderful thing that they're coming because it gives the community some credence and some credibility about what we have been alleging for a real long time. The department doesn't come down unless they have seen a preponderance of what we are alleging to be true," Miller said.

Bastrop ISD Superintendent Steve Murray sent FOX 7 the following statement:

"We welcome the folks from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in Dallas to Bastrop ISD. While we take the allegations included in the complaint filed with OCR very seriously, we also know and understand that this complaint is over 18 months old (initially filed in August of 2011). We look forward to showing the OCR investigators that we have adequately investigated and dealt with the known or reported incidents detailed in the complaint and more importantly - show them all the wonderful things that are going on for all students in Bastrop ISD."

Miller says another concern of his is that last year, after he and the African American community fought so hard to get the new diversity plan approved, since then there have only been two meetings and the community has pretty much been shut out from any input.

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