BATON ROUGE- Two lawsuits single-out a charter school in Baton Rouge, and the company that runs it, for abuse and mistreatment.
Teachers allege discrimination, and at least one parent says her child was assaulted and treated unfairly.
Kenilworth Science and Technology is run by the Pelican Educational Foundation, which also runs Abramson Charter in New Orleans. Abramson was closed two weeks ago to investigate allegations of a similar nature. The state expanded its investigation less than a week later to include Pelican and Kenilworth.
At the end of the 2009-2010 school year, three teachers told a court they were wrongfully terminated from Kenilworth Charter School. They say they were discriminated against because of their gender and their religion and they were harassed until they were fired.
This month, a mother filed a lawsuit detailing, what she calls, neglect and mistreatment of her Kenilworth student. The neglect included one teacher ignoring the child's weak bladder condition, forcing her to urinate on herself, and sit in the urine until class was over.
The mistreatment involved the child being punished for hitting another student just to stop him from touching her inappropriately.
In both instances, and in several others like them, Dr. Shirl Gilbert, who was in charge of charter schools in the Baton Rouge area at the time, tried to help.
He said, "While I think there might be hints of discrimination with relation to some of the actions that Kenilworth administrators took, in every instance, they were able to point to some substantive performance inadequacy that they said was the reason."
Gilbert says after concerns were not addressed, by the school or managers at the charter group, and finding questionable religious practices on campus, exclusively for Turkish staff members, he went to then State Superintendent Paul Pastorek...
State Department of Education officials said Wednesday night they will launch an investigation of Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School.
The Baton Rouge school is operated by the Pelican Educational Foundation.
The foundation also runs Abramson Science and Technology Charter School in New Orleans, which was closed last week amid allegations of sexual abuse and other problems.
The fact that both schools are run by Pelican means that operations at Kenilworth need to be reviewed, said Ollie Tyler, acting state superintendent of education...