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EXCLUSIVE: Feds Monitoring Mamaroneck School Accused Of Arranging Classes Along Racial Lines

MAMARONECK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Was it a case of kindergarten segregation in Westchester County?

Federal monitors are watching a school in upscale Mamaroneck after complaints in previous years from parents.

The school said it didn't do it on purpose, but the result in the racial makeup of its kindergarten classes, some said, was evident.

"Basically the other three kindergarten classes were majority white," said Rina Jimenez, adding her son's class was "very different."

Jimenez's son was in an overwhelmingly minority kindergarten last year in a school that is overwhelming white.

Parents complained the administrators of Central Elementary School in Mamaroneck concentrated minority students in one of four kindergarten classes last year and the year before.

The inverse racial composition can be seen in the yearbook. Parents told CBS 2's Lou Young it was an open secret.

"I was just really shocked," said parent Aisha Martinez. "You know I moved here because I wanted my son to have a better education and not be discriminated against and I come out here and this is what I find."

"They stated that they placed them according to where they lived, what nursery school they went to," said Rina Jimenez.

The U.S. Department of Education concluded Central School's assignment "(Criteria) were applied inconsistently and subjectively," saying "the facts failed to support" the school had even followed its own policies.

For their part, Mamaroneck administrators refused to go on camera and sent a lengthy e-mail to parents, defending their policies and advising them of the new agreement to keep the feds in the loop.

This year, CBS 2's Young said he was told there is no predominately minority kindergarten at Central School.

Mamaroneck administrators said they admit no wrongdoing, but agreed to federal monitoring.

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