A federal civil rights investigation is looking into why administrators at a Missouri School district did not protect a Black student from racial taunts from White students which culminated in the Black student being threatened with lynching, according to the Associated Press.
The lawsuit is seeking damages against the Kearney school district. The student, who is identified as K.W., told his parents that white students were trying to commit violent acts against him and, as a result, his parents pulled him from school.
The alleged racial harassment occurred at Kearney High School during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years. The lawsuit claims less than 2% of the students are Black and 92% are white, according to the Associated Press.
From the Associated Press:
When K.W. joined the swim team, white swimmers told him that he needed to “shave his hair short and dye it blonde,” the suit said. The student’s sister, who according to the suit also had been tormented when she was in junior high, reported what had happened to the coach.
In one instance, she went to a teacher and a principal to report that she had been called a racial slur in class and was told the situation would be dealt with at a “future date” because the student had a football game and his dad was a coach, the suit said.
Another time, a white high school classmate took a picture of K.W. and superimposed a racial slur over the top of it. The situation was reported to administrators.
In January of 2019, two white Kearney high school students began to send K.W. pictures of themselves posing with a confederate flag, with messages such as “Heritage but mostly hate brotha.” The teen’s mother told administrators.
The suit said that one of K.W. ‘s harassers was a girl, who told him that he couldn’t do “nothing about” the racist comments she made on social media because if he tried she would have all the white people in town beat him. An algebra teacher who overheard the conversation escorted K.W. to the office, where the principal told him to ignore the girl because she was poorer than he was, the suit said.
The lawsuit claims that ignoring the white girl failed and the harassment continued with white students making monkey sounds in front of K.W. He also received a voicemail from an anonymous source attacking him for the way he treated the white girl, according to the Associated Press.
The message said, “I hope I see your black ass in tree. Alabama wind chime style.”
It continued, “I hope you and your monkey family gets jumped by all the whites in Kearney,” according to the Associated Press.
The lawsuit alleges that the Kearney school district was slow to act and condoned the actions of the White students at the school and when they did act, they took remedial action.
More from the Associated Press:
The family’s attorney, Dan Curry, said in a statement that K.W., transferred to a different area district, where he “thrived and graduated.”
“But,” Curry added, “no child should have to experience sustained racial harassment at school, and it affected my client immediately and viscerally.”
The Kearney school district said in a statement they are committed to ensuring that every student learns in a discrimination-free environment, according to the Associated Press.
We’ll see if the lawsuit proves that to be true or false.