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ACLU urges California attorney general to investigate Oakland Unified school closures for racial discrimination

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California filed a complaint Monday with the California Department of Justice urging Attorney General Rob Bonta to investigate whether Oakland Unified’s plan to close, merge or reduce classes for 11 schools over the next two years is racially discriminatory.

Students, parents, teachers and other community members continue to rally against the plan, which Oakland Unified’s school board approved in a 4-2 vote in February and calls for two schools to close at the end of the current school year. At four of the seven schools slated to close, more than half the students enrolled are Black, ACLU said in a statement Monday.

The district went against its own policy in failing to analyze the racial equity of closing those schools, ACLU said. The ACLU said the district did not consult with the community as it developed the closure plan, “a process that was shrouded in secrecy.”

The complaint, filed on behalf of the Justice for Oakland Students coalition, calls for the closure plan to be overturned and for the district to conduct an equity analysis to guide any future closure plans.