New Hanover County Schools under Title VI investigation for alleged racial discrimination in quality of school facilities

An investigation has been opened into “inferior” facilities being provided to New Hanover High School, a school with majority Black and Hispanic students.
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 2:23 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has opened an investigation into “inferior” facilities being provided to New Hanover High School, a school with a majority Black and Hispanic student population. The OCR first received a complaint on Aug. 27, 2021, and sent an information request to New Hanover County Schools on Aug. 26, 2022.

The complaint received by OCR says that New Hanover High School (NHHS) lacks a regulation-size gym like other schools have and lists a myriad of other issues:

“The complaint also raised concerns about NHHS’s cafeteria, student restrooms, air conditioning, rodent control, and the overall condition and repair of the school, including paint and flooring; Brogden Hall’s concession facilities, balcony seating, restrooms, locker rooms, scorer’s table, lighting, cleanliness, rodent control, mid-level floor tiling, paint, front door locks, training room equipment, and lack of a shooting gun; and the Princess Street auxiliary gym’s restrooms, water fountains, air conditioning, ventilation, basketball goals, seating, flooring, and lack of locker rooms.”

The OCR has opened a Title VI investigation into whether or not the district is discriminating against Black and Hispanic students by providing worse facilities at New Hanover High School compared to majority-white schools such as E.A. Laney High, John T. Hoggard High and Eugene Ashley High.

To investigate the issue, the letter requests for information about the aforementioned high schools. This request includes everything from dates of renovations, student demographics and the state of athletics facilities to square footage per student, health inspection reports and the air conditioning systems.

“New Hanover County Schools is working with the Department of Education to complete their request for information,” said a NHCS representative in an email.

You can read the request from OCR to NHCS below.