Heuvelton school, family meet with judge over discrimination claims

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 4:26 PM EDT
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HEUVELTON, New York (WWNY) - A solution may soon be reached between a family and the Heuvelton Central School District over alleged discrimination.

Earlier this month, attorneys for Amy Chisholm and the district met with a state administrative judge on possible solutions to settle claims of alleged discrimination within the school - claims of racism, some towards Chisholm’s children, including when students spelled out a racial slur with their bodies in February of 2022.

The meeting comes after the state’s Division of Human Rights found “probable cause” in the claims.

Chisholm’s attorney, Andrea Marotta, says the 2-sides are making progress.

“We came in with very different expectations, but I think my clients and I presented a very fair offer and we are just waiting to hear back to see if the respondents will accept the offer,” said Marotta.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to talk about any of the details at this point beyond the fact that we are involved in good faith negotiations with the claims and that’s as we seek common ground,” said Jesse Coburn, superintendent, Heuvelton Central School District.

According to claims made by Chisholm, the school district did little or nothing to address the alleged racial discrimination while at school. The school’s attorney says the district is required to investigate any claims of discrimination but has no way of controlling the actions of students.

“We’re not the insurer or the guarantor of an absolutely pristine environment. Kids are going to do things they shouldn’t do. But when they do, our obligation is to proceed promptly and investigate, deal with the issues, and address them as they occur,” said Frank Miller, attorney for the district.

As for what’s being negotiated, the details aren’t being made public.

However, Chisholm’s attorney says one thing that would help would be an official apology from the school district.