Harmony Science Academy - Houston Northwest

“Texas Charter School Accused of Racism.” Courthouse News Service, 12/13/2012
HOUSTON (CN) - A Houston charter school made minority students clean toilets with toothbrushes, and a teacher told an 8-year-old student "she could not be in the front of the line .... because black people should be in the back of the line," her parents claim in Federal Court.

Darrel and Donna Davis sued the Harmony Science Academy NW, three of its teachers, its principal and assistant principal on behalf of their daughter, L.

The Davises say they "began to notice extreme moods of sadness and withdrawal from their daughter" in December 2010.

They say L "began to express horror at returning to Harmony Science Academy and that she wanted to transfer."..

The Davises claims the principal, Mr. Coban, "has acted with indifference and has had numerous complaints of discrimination towards minority, specifically a televised news piece that discovered that the teachers had minority students cleaning toilets with toothbrushes."

Houston's CBS affiliate KHOU 11 News broadcast a story in October in which a parent said the Harmony Science Academy NW punished her daughter, a fourth-grader, by making her clean toilets, baseboards and floors with a disinfectant wipe, and no gloves...

The Davises seek punitive damages for civil rights violations...


HOUSTON -- Parents of some students at the Harmony Science Academy Charter School in Northwest Harris County say their children were forced to clean restrooms as punishment.

Monica Lane said her daughter, Meagan, a fourth grade student at the school, was punished to Saturday school for getting five tardies. However, Lane said Meagan did not get not extra time in the classroom, but got time in the restroom.

"Yeah it was gross," said Meagan Dunn.

She was not alone, her mother said.

"Kids, as young as second grade, were scrubbing the toilets on Saturday," Lane said. "The baseboards and walls, and the door handles and the floors."

Meagan said the cleaning duties were done using just a disinfectant wipe and no gloves.

Administrators at the Harmony Science Academy issued a statement on the matter saying:

"Never under any circumstances is any student required or expected to clean the restrooms at any of our facilities."

The school said it encourages students to do chores to help them to care for their community. The school admitted that students did clean restrooms, but said it was just an inappropriate joke from a teacher taken literally by some students.

"How would you feel as a parent if your child was made to scrub the toilet without any kind of gloves, without any parent knowledge," Lane asked.

Beside the obvious cleanliness issues, Meagan’s parents wondered about the lost educational opportunity.

“That could have been a time for tutoring or going over some of the class work or something like that," said Lane.

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