St. Cloud school officials say harassment complaints not valid

Tech high school
A student at Tech high school in St. Cloud, Minn., created a group called "I hate the Somalians at Tech High," a tangible sign of the racial tensions growing in St. Cloud area schools.
MPR Photo/Ambar Espinoza

The St. Cloud school district has found that most of the student harassment complaints filed by a Muslim civil rights group are not valid.

The district investigated eight incidents brought to their attention by the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR.

School board member Jerry Von Korff said the district found no evidence to support seven out of the eight complaints filed by the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"There is nothing in what we wrote that suggests that we don't have issues in St. Cloud or anywhere, and that there haven't been occurrences," Von Korff said. "When you're investigating something, the fact that you don't substantiate something does not prove conclusively beyond a shadow of a doubt that it didn't happen."

Von Korff said the civil rights group didn't always include the names of students in its complaints.

"Some of them, there's no record of; we don't know who the students are," Korff said. "There was no way of tracking them down. One incident that was reported about meat being thrust in somebody's face, the students had no recollection of that occurring."

Von Korff said the district investigated a total of 14 incidents. He said administrators looked for other incidents that occurred during the same time period as the eight complaints filed by CAIR.

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