ADC Helps Challenge Discrimination within Michigan School District
Michigan Arab Americans Meet with Justice Department to Address Community Issues

Washington DC | www.adc.org | May 31, 2012 -- The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) expressed concern today about alleged discrimination against members of the Arab community in Crestwood School district in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. At an event organized by ADC-Michigan (ADC-MI), community members gathered at the Caroline Kennedy Library to meet with representatives from the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) to discuss the issues. A few Crestwood school building administrators and School Board Member Ed Garcia were also at the meeting, but mostly listened.

According to news reports, many community members of the Michigan Arab American community noted that they believe that buildings with no Arabic translators, a shortage of teachers certified to teach students learning English and no halal meals in the cafeteria are "symptoms of a culture in Crestwood Schools that discriminates against Arab American students" during their recent meeting with Department of Justice officials on the allegations.

Judith Levy, assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan, said her office received complaints that Crestwood discriminates against Arab American students and those learning English. Families who do not speak English are provided the same legal protection against discrimination as other minority groups.

In February the ADC-MI office helped a Crestwood High counselor and teacher file federal discrimination complaints about Crestwood, and the district’s failure to provide adequate services for Arab American students. ADC-MI Director Imad Hamad stated, “These allegations are very serious. It is our hope that the culture at the Crestwood School District changes. We also commend the efforts of the Department of Justice and look forward to continuing our work together until this matter is resolved.”

“Every school district in America should be a welcoming place to people of all races and ethnicities,” said Abed Ayoub, ADC Legal Director. “As mentioned by the Department of Justice officials present at the Crestwood meeting in Michigan, schools are required to take steps to help students overcome language barriers and must try to recruit staff in a nondiscriminatory manner.”

The ADC Legal Department offers counseling in cases of discrimination and defamation as well as selected impact litigation in the areas of immigration, discrimination and civil rights. Since the attacks of September 11, our attorneys have been addressing hundreds of cases. Contact the ADC Legal Department to find out more about the rights of Arabs, Muslims and South Asians.