The accusations recently levied against the Spring Cove Middle School by a former therapeutic staff worker are very troubling.
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Johnstown, Carletta Nicholson of Altoona, an African-American and Muslim, describes racial and religious discrimination she experienced between 2009 and 2012 when assigned to the school by the Children's Behavioral Health Inc. of Johnstown.
As a therapeutic aide, Nicholson job is to help students with learning difficulties.
And while trying to do that job, Nicholson said she endured insults from staff and students that included name-calling references such as: "Osama Mama," "a Muslim terrorist," a "crack baby" and "Killadelphia."
Nicholson's lawsuit also indicates that while she was working, she was dealing with a medical condition, one that caused her to lose her hair, which brought more insults.
And when she relayed her experiences to supervisors and asked to be transferred, nothing happened.
Now, Nicholson is seeking back pay, punitive damages and an order directing an end to racial discrimination by the school district and her employer.
While this case moves through the federal court system, we urge Spring Cove's current leaders to consider an offensive position, one that introduces cultural diversity into the school curriculum and its activites - or expands upon what the school currently offers.
No matter what happens with this court case, today's youngsters need exposure to diversity as they try to fit into a changing world where past prejudices are being left behind or seem to be weakening.
District leaders are beginning to investigate Nicholson's accusations, and we urge them to do so in a way that exposes what did and didn't allegedly occur.
This is the kind of case that should not be handled with hushed voices and private settlements.
The accusations have been launched, and they should be answered and addressed in a way that educates everyone.