National Center for Youth Law


Loleta Schools Civil Rights Complaint

This civil rights complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education on December 18, 2013 alleges continuing racial discrimination by employees of the Loleta Union School District including disparate treatment and harassment of Native American Students. NCYL filed the case with the ACLU of Northern California and California Indian Legal Services.

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Loleta Elementary is the only non-charter school in Loleta, and was overseen by Sally Hadden who served as both the superintendent of the District and school principal. Many of the complaints specifically concern the treatment of Native American students by Ms. Hadden.

The complaint alleges that Loleta employees have physically harassed Native American students, have used racial slurs in front of Native American students, and have engaged in disparate discipline of Native American students. Loleta routinely suspends or expels Native American students for minor behavioral infractions, likekicking a ball on the school roof, when White students are not similarly punished.

In addition, the complaint alleges that Loleta fails to identify and evaluate students for special educational services and fails to make reasonable modifications to avoid discriminating against students with disabilities. For example, Loleta has failed to provide appropriate special education services to several sixth grade students who cannot read. Loleta staff also place students who have been removed from their classrooms due to behavioral issues in a small,windowless room, which students refer to as “the hole,” where they receive no instruction or oversight from teachers. This treatment of Native American students at Loleta has caused many Native American parents to transfer their children out of the District.

Press Coverage


Voluntary Resolution Agreement 11-20-2017

Resolution Letter from Office for Civil Rights 11-20-17

Complaint (pdf)