Maize School District one of 7 being federally investigated, district responds
Update (November 18, 2023):
Maize USD 266 released this statement on Saturday afternoon:
"Maize USD 266 has yet to receive a copy of the complaint itself but now can confirm that the complaint was filed Aug. 10, 2023 with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. Information requested of the district referenced an unspecified allegation occurring in March 2023 at Maize South Intermediate School. Maize USD 266 is working with legal counsel through the process and reiterates that it will fully cooperate with the investigation.
Maize USD 266 takes allegations of discrimination seriously. The school district is dedicated to providing a place for teaching and learning that prioritizes and champions respect and inclusivity and where all students and employees feel safe and valued."
MAIZE, Kan. (KAKE) - Seven schools across the US are being investigated for antisemitism or Islamophobia.
Cornell University, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Lafayette College, Wellesley College, Cooper Union for Advancement of Science and Art and Maize Unified School District are all under federal investigation for possible discrimination by the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.
"We take the responsibility very seriously to protect students' freedom to learn in an environment that is free from hate,” said Miguel Cardona, US Secretary of Education.
Getting information about the nature of the complaint has been difficult. The Maize district would only release this statement:
“Maize USD 266 can confirm that the district received an email from the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights at 6:38 p.m. on Nov. 16. A copy of the complaint was not provided to Maize USD 266 by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, so we are unable to make any further comment regarding this matter."
"Maize USD 266 takes allegations of discrimination seriously and is committed to cooperating fully with any investigation. The school district is dedicated to providing a place for teaching and learning that prioritizes and champions respect and inclusivity and where all students and employees feel safe and valued.”
The Maize Board of Education also would not comment on this investigation.
It is the only institution under investigation that is not a higher education facility, but rather a district of K-12 students. The State Department of Education has no involvement with this investigation and has received no complaints about Maize at this time.
Five of the schools are being investigated for antisemitic instances and 2 others were Islamophobia.
While it has not been reported which institutions have which type of complaint, Cornell, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Wellesley College, and Cooper Union for Advancement of Science and Art Have had previous reports of issues with antisemitism. That leaves just Lafayette College and Maize with unidentified concerns.
The Department of Education says it cannot comment on ongoing investigations.
"Factually I don't think I know anything more about what's going on at Maize than anyone does but I would say is I have faith in the teachers, the principals, the superintendents, the school board members to get it right. And if anybody does feel threatened, let's nip it in the bud right now,” said Senator Roger Marshall.
It is unclear the specific reason for this investigation at Maize but some have raised questions about deleted tweets from Maize Barstool accounts, but the district is not releasing any information at this time.
"When students can't feel safe walking from their classroom to their dorm because they're afraid that they're going to get harmed, that's unacceptable and we must protect our students at all costs,” said Cardona.