Black Student in Oregon City Sues School District for Failing to Take Action on Racial Harassment

Illustration for article titled Black Student in Oregon City Sues School District for Failing to Take Action on Racial Harassment
Photo: maroke (Shutterstock)

A Black student in Lake Oswego, Ore., has sued her school district, its superintendent, and a former board member turned state senator for failing to act on multiple instances of discrimination.

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According to Oregon Live, the Lake Oswego School District, Superintendent Lora De La Cruz, and state Sen. Rob Wagner are all named as defendants on a tort claim filed by the unnamed student. The student, who is Black, alleges that she has endured countless instances of racism during her time at Lakeridge High. Kim Sordyl and Michael Fuller, the child’s attorneys, have said the suit will be filed in the coming weeks in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

Sordyl released a statement on the case, saying that the student endured insults about her hair, cyberbullying, racial slurs, and harassment when she played on the school’s basketball team. Any effort by the family to get the school to address these problems was allegedly met with indifference.

“Lake Oswego schools are hotbeds of racism,” Sordyl said. “White decision-makers engage in performative allyship while covering up a deeply racist culture.”

District spokeswoman Mary Kay Larson told Oregon Live that the district won’t comment on the allegations. She said in a statement that the school has recently approved an anti-racism resolution, and has hired a teacher to focus on equity in the district.

In February, the attorneys sent a tort claim to De La Cruz announcing their intent to sue for damages. That claim outlined the racism the student experienced during her time on the basketball team. Her all-white teammates dubbed themselves the “Caucasian Invasion” and hazed and harassed the student.

See, shit like this is why I’m hesitant on having kids. I don’t know if I have it in me not to hit a racist 14-year-old with a V-trigger.

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The racism wasn’t limited to just students either, as the claim describes an incident where two parents at one of the games told their kids to yell racial slurs at the student and harass her mother. When the student asked them to stop, one of the parents allegedly had the audacity to file a complaint with the district.

I don’t know if this was a white woman, but this really sounds like some Becky shit. “Yes we were racist, but how DARE they call us on it!”

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In April, the student applied to graduate a year early so she could get the fuck up out of this allegedly racist-ass school. Desiree Fisher, the school’s principal recommended the student be allowed to graduate early. State Sen. Wagner, who was the district chair at the time, approved the request in May but didn’t make any efforts to investigate the reason why she wanted to graduate early.

According to Sordyl’s statement, what the school board did next instead is just—

Y’all, the school board staged a reading of a Dr. Seuss book, gave the students pins that said “Better Together,” and called it a day. Sure, one of your students is alleging that they have experienced years of racial harassment on your watch, but you know what will solve that?

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That’s right. Dr. Seuss.

Don’t worry; the board isn’t just tone-deaf, they’re also flat out trash…allegedly.

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Sordyl’s statement alleges that the student was called into an office with multiple school officials without her parents being notified. The officials, all white men because of course, told the student that she would face consequences if she went public with the discrimination she’s endured.

I’m just so tired, y’all.

I’m sure the Black families in Lake Oswego are exhausted as, unfortunately, incidents like this aren’t uncommon. A few years ago, a group of eighth graders in the city said they were called racial slurs on a regular basis. Just this August, a family received a racist letter as a result of having a Black Lives Matter sign outside their house.

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So clearly there’s a problem in Lake Oswego. Here’s hoping this case might bring about some deeply needed change in this community.

The stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, wheelin' and dealin' nerd of The Root.

DISCUSSION

johnbeckwith
B'dilliBay

The locals call it “Lake No Negroes” for a reason.