Hannibal: Inquiry into racial complaints at HMS, HHS


The U.S. Department of Education is investigating complaints that the Hannibal School District allows a racially hostile environment in its middle and high schools.

The district and the Hannibal chapter of the NAACP were notified last week.

The Hannibal Courier-Post reported that the inquiry stems from an off-campus, racially charged fight that police were called to earlier this fall.

Hannibal NAACP president Annie Dixon says two black teens were taken into custody.

Dixon says there seems to be an environment of racial hostility at both the Hannibal Middle School and the Hannibal High School. She says she filed the complaint with the Department of Education after events over the last few months and over the last couple of years came to a head when there was a fight between high school students off campus back in October.

She says the black students feel that no action is taken when they report problems and Dixon says the students are trying to defend themselves.

Superintendent Jill Janes says the district doesn't "tolerate racial harassment" and that problems will be addressed if students report them.

The investigation will involve Dixon who filed the complaint and school personnel. Hannibal School Superintendent Dr. Jil Janes says they welcome the investigation and she feels the school district has done their job to make sure the off campus incident didn't carry over into the high school and onto school property. She says when there are incidents involving students that are brought to the attention of the school district that are investigated and handled. She also says that the district is in the middle of diversity training for the district staff.

Results of the investigation being conducted by the Department of Education should be available in about six months.

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