Student Services

Education Equity

The Policy

Lincoln Public Schools is committed to the concept of educational equity for students, staff and patrons of Lincoln Public Schools. In all programs conducted by the school district, the dignity and worth of all human beings will be recognized. Such recognition shall be extended regardless of a person’s economic status, race, ethnic background, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or mental, physical or linguistic ability.

In addition it is the policy of Lincoln Public Schools to assure that all students have equal opportunity to take part in all school programs. The material used with students is to represent all types of people, both male and female, in a variety of jobs, skills and leadership. Lincoln Public Schools is committed to providing an environment free of harassment based on economic status, race, ethnic background, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or mental, physical or linguistic ability.

Complaints

If you feel you or someone you know has not been treated fairly, you have three options: 1) get more information to try to resolve it with a staff member who knows about the situation; 2) talk to your principal or a central office administrator who can advise you; 3) write to Lincoln Public Schools Equity Administrator, Box 82889, Lincoln, NE 68501.

If you send in the complaint form (Educational Equity Complaint Form), a school district official will gather as many details as possible. That information will then be forwarded to the school district’s Educational Equity Monitoring Task Force, a group of citizens and school staff members. The task force will assign a team to thoroughly investigate your complaint and will make recommendations for changes if your complaint is justified. Your name will not be used unless you authorize it. Under no circumstances will any threats or retaliation be permitted to be made against an individual for alleging in good faith a violation of this policy. Complaints regarding sexual harassment will not be handled by the task force, but by a district administrator.

Important Contacts

If you would like more information about the policy as it relates to curriculum, classrooms, practices, student activities or any part of school life, you may call any of the following people:
For assistance or to express concern, call:
Russ Uhing, Equity Administrator 436-1650
For assistance specific to race relations and multicultural issues, call:
Thomas Christie, Multicultural Admin. 436-1604
In matters related to instruction, call:
Jane Stavem, Associate Superintendent for Instruction 436-1625
For assistance from the ADA coordinator, call:
Marla Styles, ADA Coordinator 436-1579
For student or Section 504 assistance and concerns call:
Russ Uhing, Section 504 Coordinator 436-1650
In matters related to homeless students call:
Russ Uhing, Homeless Coordinator 436-1650
In matters related to curriculum, call:
Jadi Miller, Dir. of Curriculum 436-1634
For assistance concerning special education, call:
Jenny Fundus, Dir. of Special Education 436-1932
In matters related to affirmative action, call:
Thomas Christie, Multicultural Admin. 436-1604
In matters related to federal Title IX legislation or sexual harassment, call:
Eric Weber, Title IX Officer and Assistant
Superintendent for Human Resources 436-1577
LPS District Offices 436-1000
Every effort will be made to find a fair solution.

If parents/guardians, employees, or students do not feel that their complaints regarding Title IX, Title VI, Section 504 have met with resolution at the local level, they can appeal their grievances to the regional Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.

Office for Civil Rights
601 East 12th Street – Room 353
Kansas City, MO 64106
(816) 426-7277
Fax: (816) 426-3686
TDD: (816) 426-7065

Guidelines for Religious Holidays

The Lincoln school district complies with the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The First Amendment requires that public schools neither promote nor interfere with the practice of religion. This requirement sometimes presents some difficult situations for schools. For one thing, schools are expected to teach about many facets of society, including the moral, ethical and religious values held by people in that society. For another, schools are a part of the fabric of our American society – and so is religious practice. Schools are required to be a part of practically all activities that go on in a community, including religious holidays, while avoiding either the promoting of religious practices or interference with religious practices.

To further complicate the situation, some religious observances have evolved into cultural, secular observances, while still retaining religious meaning for many Americans. Christmas, Easter and Hanukkah are examples of religious holidays that are now observed as cultural events. Other holidays have their origins in religion, but have lost practically all religious meaning in terms of the way most Americans observe the holidays. Valentine’s Day and Halloween are examples.

The issue for schools is how to allow students to be a part of American society’s observance of such events and yet not require any student to participate in an observance which conflicts with the student’s religious beliefs.

To avoid interfering with the religious practices of students, efforts are made to avoid scheduling major tests and major student activities on dates of religious significance. If you are concerned about any particular date on which there might be a school conflict with your family’s religious activities, please call your child’s school.

In an effort to deal with this admittedly complex situation, Lincoln Public Schools has developed guidelines with advice from citizens, religious leaders and staff members. The guidelines are intended to help staff members be sensitive to the problems surrounding religious events without robbing those events of their luster as part of our American heritage. Guidelines are as follows:

All activities included in the instructional program shall be inclusive and pluralistic – that is, students of varying cultural, ethnic and religious heritage should be able to feel included and feel comfortable being included.

  1. The role that diverse religious traditions have played in the historical development of our society should be recognized.
  2. A school program or student performance should not be a forum for religious worship – all school programs should serve an educational purpose.
  3. Student participation in any program, or performance (e.g., music) which may involve religious materials which a student may find personally objectionable should be voluntary.
  4. Persons who are authorities on a particular culture or religion may serve as resources in the classroom.
  5. Religious symbols may be used as teaching aids when used objectively to teach about a religious heritage.
  6. Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and Easter eggs and bunnies are considered to be secular, seasonal symbols and may be displayed provided they do not disrupt the instructional program for students.
  7. Holiday parties may be held as long as they do not become religious observances, as long as all children can be included or positive alternatives provided for those who choose not to participate.
  8. In ceremonial functions, opening and closing remarks are used instead of invocations and benedictions.
  9. Because baccalaureate is a traditionally religious service, it is sponsored by a community group rather than by the school district.

We appreciate the support Lincoln parents have traditionally given to Lincoln Public Schools. Your cooperation with the schools as they attempt to follow these guidelines will be most helpful. If you have any questions about the guidelines, or wish to express any concern, please talk with the principal at your child’s school or call Russ Uhing, educational equity administrator, 436-1650; or Steve Joel, superintendent, 436-1601

Contact

Russ Uhing
Director, Student Services
duhing@lps.org | 402-436-1650

P.O. Box 82889
Lincoln, Nebraska 68501