Thursday, April 17, 2014

Are We Going To Lose More Human Rights?

Investigation of the use of taxpayer funds to promote a legislative platform item that erodes the Missouri Human Rights Act.

 The Lee's Summit R-7 School District is using taxpayer monies to fund this award-winning legislative advocacy program described in this article. This R7 Advocacy Program is then used to promote the LSR7 Legislative Platform.

Should one question this use of taxpayers' money to erode the progress made by the Missouri Human Rights Act? Number 8 of the LSR7 Legislative Platform states:

8. Support a change in the Missouri Human Rights Act that would re-align the Missouri Act with federal standards.

Here are two situations that illustrate how school populations need the Missouri Human Rights Act to protect their student and employment rights.

When a school district is found to be non-compliant with civil rights laws by the Department of Education Office For Civil Rights, the Superintendent signs a Resolution Agreement that they will change policies, train employees, find children who have not been properly identified due to not following the updates in laws ... then the Department of Education starts to Monitor the District for Compliance.  Students and their parents need the support from the MHRA to make sure Districts will follow the law.  This situation has happened in Fox C-6 School District and other school districts.  Some Districts sign Assurances that they will follow civil rights laws, knowing they will not, just so they can get the Federal Funding.   

Secondly the Lee's Summit R-7 School District implemented a Career Retirement Incentive Release of Claims in 2010.  They changed their policy on May 20, 2010.  Both the EEOC and the MCHR investigate  these types of Release of Claims if requested to do so. The District continues to enforce this Release of Claims.  It could be perceived to give the District the Green Light to discriminate against career educators based on age and disability.  In LSR7, the Career Retirement Incentive is one half of your salary.  Employees hired after 2001 no longer qualify for it.  This policy could dissuade the educator from standing up for their civil rights.  If you feel like you have been discriminated against you can either take your incentive and sign away your rights to sue or you can give up your career incentive and keep your rights to sue.  It is for these reasons, the allowance for changes to the Missouri Human Rights Act must be avoided.  

In these two situations there is little regard for the civil rights of students and school personnel by District officials and the MHRA at least evens the field somewhat.

Perhaps the Governor and his staff should try to identify how many school districts in Missouri have signed these Resolution Agreements and are being Monitored by the DOE OCR and also to check with the EEOC and the MCHR to see how many charges have been filed against school districts in the state of Missouri.  This advanced preparation would get him better prepared to respond to new legislation that is already filed to change the MHRA, now that all 30 schools are supporting their donor businesses and not the school populations by backing the erosion of the MHRA.

Representatives of CSDGKC state that all school districts in their group (the 30 total) are supporting # 8, as well as all of the other platform items.  

8. Support a change in the Missouri Human Rights Act that would re-align the Missouri Act with federal standards.

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