Feds probing Jefferson Parish school bias claims

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Federal officials are investigating allegations by the Southern Poverty Law Center that the Jefferson Parish public schools discriminate against Latino students.

In a letter dated Sept. 27, the Justice Department's civil rights division and Education Department's office for civil rights said they haven't reached any conclusions about the law center's claims that the school system has violated federal anti-discrimination laws.

The law center filed a complaint in August on behalf of 16 Latino students and their families, accusing the district of creating a hostile environment for Latino students by allowing employees to harass them about their citizenship status.

The school system has said that serving "English Language Learners" has been a priority for the district. Latino students account for 17 percent of the district's student population.

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