Burlington Area School District officials failed to report, investigate and respond to racist incidents for years, the state Department of Public Instruction has found, and ordered district officials to address its “racially hostile environment.”
It took years of advocacy by Darnisha Garbade, a parent of two former Burlington students, to get to this point, while she repeatedly hit dead-ends with district officials.
"I asked, I begged, I cried and pleaded for help on many occasions to many of Burlington’s leaders but was treated as if I was the problem, instead of racism being the problem," Garbade said in a news conference Monday. “I consistently spoke the truth, and even provided evidence when I wasn’t believed. And yet, I still wasn’t believed."
Steve Plank, superintendent of the Burlington Area School District, did not acknowledge any wrongdoing but said he regrets that anyone felt discriminated against and will comply with the order.