School staff cleared of racism, grade-changing allegations

Investigation: No discrimination verified at North Atlanta High

An Atlanta Public Schools’ internal investigation found a “climate of racial tension” at North Atlanta High School, but insufficient evidence to substantiate claims of racial discrimination, a report released Friday stated.

“Even though there was compelling testimony regarding specific instances of alleged discrimination, in most instances, there was also compelling testimony or demonstrative evidence that refuted the claim,” officials with APS’ Office of Internal Compliance said in a 166-page report.

The report, which was obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution under the Georgia Open Records Act, said the “the campus has experienced a ‘racial divide’ in its perception of race discrimination,” with 65 percent of African-American students interviewed feeling there is racial discrimination at the school, compared to 8 percent of white students.

The report stated that APS received a “myriad of complaints” about North Atlanta High during a two-year period, with the majority being made in Fall 2012. In October 2012, Superintendent Erroll Davis removed the school’s principal, Mark MyGrant, and his leadership team.

Parents, students and others said systematic racial discrimination and grading improprieties were “common practice” at NAHS, according to APS’s Office of Internal Compliance, which conducted the investigation. Among 114 students interviewed, 43 complained that minority students were discriminated against based on race, the report said.

These included complaints that African-American students were singled out for discipline and received failing or lower grades than their white counterparts due to race. Students also alleged that teachers made derogatory comments or comments with racial undertones. the investigators found.

In a statement issued Friday, APS Superintendent Erroll Davis said “the nature of the complaints substantiated the need to initiate this investigation.”

Davis said the report indicated that no laws were broken.

“However, it raised issues that should have been addressed,” Davis said. “Now in place is a new principal, who has already begun to work on the issues, and we are confident that we can all return to the business of educating children.”

Howard “Gene” Taylor took leadership of the school last fall after MyGrant’s removal.

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