Schools to Address Somali Bantu Needs

Article excerpt

Pittsburgh Public Schools has promised to train staff to better deal with the harassment of Somali Bantu students as part of an agreement announced Monday with the Education Law Center.

The center, an advocacy group with an office Downtown, filed a complaint last year with the federal Department of Education alleging the district segregated Somali Bantu children in school and let other students harass the youngsters.

"Families were calling me and complaining that their children were being verbally harassed in school and assaulted on both the playground and school buses," said Nancy Hubley, the attorney who filed the complaint. "They were saying things like, 'You smell. You need to go back to Africa.'"

She said the harassment predominantly came from black children.

In a prepared statement, city schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt said, "We are pleased to have a resolution that meets the needs of the Somali Bantu students and community."

The Somali Bantu are part of a group of 12,000 resettled in the United States by the United Nations starting in 2004. There are about 200 Somali Bantu in the Pittsburgh area, including about 100 children in city schools. …