Federal officials to look at Gwinnett redistricting

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is investigating whether the Gwinnett County school system discriminated against African-American and Hispanic students in the redrawing of attendance zones in the Peachtree Ridge and Duluth school clusters, agency spokesman Jim Bradshaw confirmed Friday.

The agency received two complaints in April from local parents. One alleges the system's recently approved redistricting plan discriminates against low-income and minority students by preventing them from attending a high school in a more affluent area. It also alleges this will overburden an already poorer school, while protecting a high school in a wealthy area from an influx of poor and minority students.

The second complaint says the district selected only 450 underprivileged Hispanic and African-American students to move from a school in an affluent area to an already overburdened poorer school. The Peachtree Ridge school zone includes affluent areas such as Sugarloaf Country Club.

Gwinnett schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said district officials had not seen the complaints as of late Friday.

School officials previously have said the redistricting plan is based on population figures, not socio-economics. Enrollment forecasts, student transportation and school locations also were considerations, system officials have said.