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The Department of Education has opened an investigation of possible racial harassment in the School Town of Munster, a department spokesperson confirmed Monday.

MUNSTER — The Department of Education is investigating possible racial discrimination in the School Town of Munster, an education department spokesperson confirmed.

The federal department's Office of Civil Rights opened an investigation based on race/color harassment on March 4, the department spokesperson said in a statement provided to The Times on Monday.

The Office of Civil Rights is an arm of the Department of Education that provides guidance to federally funded schools and processes claims of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age.

More information on how the Office of Civil Rights investigates complaints of discrimination can be found on its website.

Munster superintendent Jeff Hendrix said that the district has responded to a claim made with the Office of Civil Rights and has provided information for the office's investigation.

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Both declined to comment further on specific details of the case while the investigation is active, leaving several questions unanswered as to why the investigation was launched this spring and whether any particular Munster school or employee is a focus of the investigation.

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The School Town of Munster operates three elementary schools, one middle and one high school, serving more than 4,100 students districtwide in the 2018-19 school year.

The Munster School Board has met once in executive session since the opening of the civil rights investigation on March 4. The board discussed collective bargaining, alleged misconduct and the initiation or threat of litigation in the closed meeting, according to an executive session agenda posted on the school town's website.

The Munster School Board meets next at 7 p.m. June 10 in the Munster Administration Center.

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Education Reporter

Carley Lanich covers education in Lake County and throughout the Region. She comes to Northwest Indiana from Indianapolis and is an IU-Bloomington grad.