Upper Adams School District spends $68,231 on a no-bid contract for a “race-based discrimination/harassment investigation”


In February 2021, the Upper Adams School District in Biglerville, PA announced that it engaged the services of the Philadelphia-based law firm Fox Rothschild to conduct an “independent, unbiased assessment of the District’s policies, procedures and response to alleged acts of racism and/or ethnic discrimination recently shared by students and alumni of Biglerville High School on social media.”

Fox Rothschild’s lead investigator, Kelley Hodge, previously served as the first independently identified Title IX Coordinator at the University of Virginia (UVA) from August 2015-May 2016, immediately following the fallout from the since-debunked Rolling Stone article about sexual assault at UVA.

Parents Defending Education filed a public records request with the district for copies of the invoices related to Fox Rothschild’s work; the invoices indicate that the district has spent $68,231.50 over a three-month period for these services.

The district’s financial projections for the school year ending June 30, 2021 indicate that the district faced a shortfall of over $428,000.

The public records request also asked for copies of bids and proposals received by the district from any other organization/consulting group to produce the report; the district denied this request “as no other records exist.”

In March 2021, the district announced that it “has embarked on a comprehensive Anti-Racism Plan as part of a broader diversity, equity and inclusivity initiative.” The district’s Anti-Racism page can be viewed here.

Part 1 of the district’s Anti-Racism plan can be found here; among other things, the district encourages community members to report any racist or bullying behavior – anonymously, if they so choose – through the State of Pennsylvania’s Safe2Say Something School Safety portal, which is run by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office.