New Orleans psychologist who made racist remarks resigns

August 11, 2012

On May 23, 2012, the Jefferson Parish Public School System reported that Louisiana school psychologist Mark A. Traina resigned.

Traina had come under scrutiny the by the Parish due to the numerous racially inflammatory remarks he posted on his Twitter feed.

A week earlier, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed a complaint with the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights against the Jefferson Parish Public School System and the Jefferson Parish School Board on behalf of students of the parish, for discrimination on the basis of race and disability. The complaint specifically alleged that the district’s alternative school policies have resulted in black students making up 78 percent of all alternative school referrals even though they are only 46 percent of the district’s student population.

The same day, the local newspaper, The Times-Picayune, ran a story about the complaint. Traina posted a response to the story on the Picayune’s webpage, which contained a racially inflammatory remark. The SPLC noted the response and noted too that Traina was an employee of the Jefferson Parish Public School System and that he was directly involved in the assessments, hearings and decisions which resulted in determinations of student disabilities and their expulsions and removals to alternative schools. The Center correlated his racially inflammatory comments and his direct involvement in student expulsions and removals with the disproportionate rates of discipline for African-American students in Jefferson Parish schools.

On May 18th, the SPLC filed a supplementary complaint with the Department of Education, regarding Traina’s comments. Jefferson Parish schools had planned an investigation but Traina resigned first.

Source: “JP school psychologist who made controversial remarks resigns,” (New Orleans, LA), May 22, 2012 and Southern Poverty Law Center, complaint to United States Department of Education, Re: Complaint regarding discrimination on the basis of race and disability, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, May 18, 2012.


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