Wolf Point Herald

Education Department Pursues Discrimination Claim

Alleged discrimination against Native American students attending Wolf Point School District is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education.
A 46-page Title VI complaint, Discrimination Against Native Students in Wolf Point, Montana, District Schools, was filed in June 2017 by the Fort Peck Tribal Executive Board.
The complaint received additional attention after the district was the subject of national news coverage in The New York Times and ProPublica Dec. 28 as part of a joint reporting project by the media organizations.
The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights confirmed that its investigation into the complaint was opened Dec. 28.
According to the complaint’s executive summary:
“White residents on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, which is majority-Native, control local politics, business and schools. Gerrymandering and nepotism have perpetuated racial inequality created by federal policies, including preferential land grants for white homesteaders and compulsory boarding school programs for Native students.”
The complaint documents accounts from past and present Native students regarding disproportionate discipline and poor access to academic and extracurricular activities. Bullying against Native students is also raised in the complaint.
The complaint cites a history of educational policies directed against tribal members:
“Schools on the Reservation bear the legacy of the Fort Peck Reservation Boarding School, which violently imposed Western culture, values and education on Native families through the early 1900s.”
Representatives for the district released the following statement to media, “The Wolf Point Public School District is keenly aware of the challenges facing our students and, in particular, our Native American students.”
Wolf Point Schools Superintendent Rob Osborne was unavailable for comment.
Montana Office of Public Instruction director Dylan Klapmeier told The Herald-News, “OPI is working with Wolf Point Schools on a number of issues. They have several accreditation deficiencies. They are also a comprehensive support school district for low graduation rates. And their middle school is a targeted support school for English learners. OPI’s Indian Education Division has been working with them on professional development.” Klapmeier stressed that OPI is not involved in the discrimination complaint, but has been working with Wolf Point schools on Native youth conferences, culturally informed practices, behavioral support, and other issues.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana told The Herald-News that the Education Department has 180 days to determine whether or not the claim is substantive enough to move forward with additional findings. The ACLU is contributing information and resources to the investigation.
A statement provided to The Herald-News from an Education Department spokesman reads, “OCR can confirm that it opened an investigation at the Wolf Point School District on Dec. 28, 2018. OCR is investigating whether the district discriminated against American Indian students on the basis of race in the administration of discipline and on the basis of race and disability by denying students access to appropriate special education services. However, because this is an open investigation, OCR cannot provide additional information or confirm details about the case.”

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FWP Hosts Women’s Ice Fishing Event

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Region 6 hosted a Becoming an Outdoor Woman ice fishing event Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4-6.

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Babbs Purchase Mon-Dak Marine

Brandon and Ronette Babb, formerly of Wolf Point, are the new owners of Mon-Dak Marine, located at 54106 U.S. Hwy. 2 in Glasgow.
The couple formally took over the marine supply business Jan. 2.

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Influenza Confirmed In Roosevelt County

The Roosevelt County Health Department recently received confirmation of an influenza A case in Culbertson from the Department of Health and Human Services.

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DUI Task Force Considers Rotating Meeting Locations

In an effort to increase participation at monthly Roosevelt County DUI Task Force meetings, task force coordinator A.J. Allen said during the January meeting in Wolf Point Friday, Jan. 4, that he wants to reach out to other communities besides Wolf Point.

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