What was supposed to be fun for a group of teenagers ended up being detrimental to their school careers, claim the parents of four black Ohio students who say their children were unfairly targeted and discriminated against for making rap videos, the Associated Press reports.
According to the report, the parents are suing the Northwest Local School District in Cincinnati, the Colerain Township board of trustees and a number of police officers for allegedly targeting their children and infringing upon the students’ constitutional rights, including free speech.
The four teens were expelled from Colerain High School merely for making rap-music videos off campus, the parents claim.
“Based on … images, school administrators accused more than a dozen African-American students of making ‘street signs’ and belonging to a ‘gang,’” the lawsuit reads, according to AP.
AP reports that school officials and law enforcement questioned the students concerning social media photos that show the students involved throwing up hand signs or taking part in the music videos.
The district’s attorney, John Concannon, said that 14 students in total were suspended and recommended for expulsion because of threats made against other students and faculty, either at school or on social media. He also said that students of both races were disciplined and that they were all welcome to return to school, AP reports.
“This is about reasonable school rules that were violated in a serious way,” Concannon told the news site, adding that it had nothing to do with gang relations or music videos. However, Concannon would not say which rules were breached.
The lawyer representing the families, Robert Newman, said that white students involved in similar behavior have not been disciplined in the same manner and pointed a finger at discrimination. “This case is about racial stereotyping,” he said.
One student involved in the case has since transferred to another school, but the lawsuit is seeking to clear the expulsion from the students’ records, as well as other damages.
Read more at the New York Post.