Emma Findlen LeBlanc spoke to the Lewiston Sun Journal following a report she published about racial discrimination in Maine schools for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine:
While Portland and Lewiston schools have the highest numbers of immigrant students, the harassment problem is statewide, LeBlanc said.
"We found schools with very small percentages that have problems," she said. Immigrant students in those schools are isolated and lack specialized programs to help them, she said.
And, she said, students interviewed across Maine who gave examples of harassment were asked how frequently discrimination occurs. "From their stories we felt comfortable" concluding harassment was widespread and on a regular basis, LeBlanc said.
LeBlanc declined to offer examples of discrimination in Lewiston schools to avoid identifying students. And, she added, the report doesn’t seek to single out Lewiston or any district because discrimination is statewide.