Glenview school accused of offering group only Hispanics may join
Attea Middle School in Glenview has an extracurricular program for students that focuses primarily on leadership goals, but there's a catch: Only Hispanic students can join.
When contact, the school refused to respond to questions unless they were asked in person at the central office.
“As we stated back in June, we welcome you to join us for an in person interview where we can answer your questions,” Jenn Nimke, director of communications and public relations, said in an email to North Cook News. “You can speak with myself and the principal, as well as possibly our superintendent.”
Earlier this year, the North Cook News received a tip from a concerned father who thought it unacceptable that Attea would have such an exclusive club.
“This first came to my attention about a year and a half ago, as I noticed that a club they had called Youth Leadership Academy,” the anonymous father said. “I saw the yearbook photos of all the clubs and this one was made up only of Hispanic children.”
He said his children, who attended Attea at the time, said the club is known as the club “only” for Hispanic students.
“My son then asked one of the social workers if he could join the club, and she told him he could not because it was only for Hispanics,” the father wrote in his email. “When he asked the assistant principal (at the time, Hal Schmeisser), he got the same answer. My wife and I set up a meeting with him, and he denied that he directly told my son he could not join, but tried to justify the club by saying the school had a tough time reaching and teaching these children (many are ELL students).”
The father said that the school responded to his inquiry by claiming that the club was funded by a federal grant program that only allows for students who speak a particular language to join.
“I told him that's not a good enough excuse, especially if they are using taxpayer-funded facilities (they met in the school) and were creating an atmosphere of exclusion,” the father wrote.