The family of a black middle school student has filed a lawsuit against the Lansing, Kan., school district for racial discrimination in failing to protect him from physical and sexual harassment at the hands of another middle schooler.
This is the second such lawsuit filed against the Lansing School District in a week, the Kansas City Star reports.
The suit, filed in federal court, alleges that a black seventh-grader was repeatedly harassed and assaulted by a white classmate at Lansing Middle School, including being grabbed twice in the genitals. But not only did school officials do nothing to protect the boy, but they also punished him and not his white bully.
According to the suit, the black middle school student “was treated less favorably in the way in which he was disciplined, questioned and blamed despite the student perpetrator being the aggressor.”
From the Kansas City Star:
The perpetrator groped the victim’s buttocks while they were in study hall. The victim told him to stop and told the teacher, who initially didn’t do anything.
Only after continued harassment and continued requests to the teacher did she intervene, but only to tell the victim to move his seat.
Later that day, both boys were on the bus after school when the perpetrator grabbed the other boy’s penis, struck him on the head several times and kicked him in the face, causing a bloody nose.
The black middle schooler fought back, defending himself by punching the other boy. That punch prompted school officials to punish the black student, suspending him from riding the school bus the next day.
But the white student wasn’t punished, according to the suit.
The victim’s parents spoke with school administrators the day after the incident, only to be told by the principal and assistant principal that the two boys were “hugging” before engaging in a “mutual fight,” the Kansas City Star reports.
The suit also alleges that school officials didn’t admit that the white student was the aggressor until they saw footage of the fight from the school bus, which they watched with the victim’s parents. Administrators also acknowledged that the white student had a “known history of bad behavior,” but insinuated that the black student was to blame for the fight because he wasn’t in the “appropriate” seat on the bus, according to the suit.
It’s not known if the white student was ever punished for his actions.
Last week, another lawsuit was filed against the Lansing School District for placing a female student in the homeroom of a teacher who had allegedly sexually harassed her. According to that suit, the teacher had already been disciplined by the school for making multiple unprovoked, sexually explicit comments (that discipline came in the form of paid leave, according to the Kansas City Star).
Despite school officials clearly knowing the teacher’s history with the student, she was still assigned to his homeroom class. That teacher remains employed at the school.