Panama City- The Bay County School District strongly denied Tuesday accusations alleging discrimination against its African American students.
The issue stems from complaints filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center back in June. The complaints accuse Bay County and four other Florida school districts of harsher and more frequent discipline against black children in the last year compared to white kids.
The local chapter of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition along with the Souther Poverty Law Center held a forum Tuesday night in the Glenwood Community Center to discuss their findings with the public.
They claimed statistics they obtained directly from the school district prove school officials are making racially motivated decisions. The school district quickly fired back Tuesday afternoon saying civil rights activists are cherry picking numbers to back up their claims that it said are without merit.
"It is no leftwing fudging with the numbers, there's nothing going on. The numbers are the numbers. They're reported by the superintendents and by the school districts and we're just bringing awareness to what is actually happening," said SPLC Staff Attorney Stephanie Langer.
"If you look at part of the data and not all of the data, you're not getting the true picture. Bay District schools do not discriminate against anyone based on race, religion, ethnicity, or anything else," said Nancy Boyd, Bay County School District Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Services.
It's not clear if the U.S. Department of Education has accepted the five complaints yet. Meanwhile, the Bay County School District said it's meeting with its attorney to decide a plan of action.