A group of parents have hit their almost lily-white school district with a civil rights lawsuit, charging it turned a blind eye to rampant instances of egregious racist abuse and bullying of their children.
According to the Daily Beast, the abusive behavior alleged includes:
- a 6-year-old black child being punched in the face by a classmate twice and told he “didn’t belong”
- white students posting on Snapchat that students who attended a forum on race relations would be shot, and, in a separate incident, posting the faces of black students on Snapchat and locating them at “Negro Hill.”
- a middle-school student whose T-shirt was vandalized with the words “nigger” and “leave now” after it was stolen from his locker
- white students tormenting the same middle-schooler by destroying his computer and calling his dad a “drug dealer or rapper” like “all black dads are.”
Jquan Fuller-Rueschman, a black former high school student in the district who is another one of the plaintiffs, also charged, per the Daily Beast:
that he was punched in the face by a white student, repeatedly called the n-word, accused of being stupid and dumb, had food thrown at him, and had his car egged. He was labeled “aggressive” and suspended after confronting a student who repeatedly called him the n-word, the complaint states.
But, according to the suit, no matter how many times parents and the students complained, nothing was done.
“Our public schools are supposed to respect and keep children safe while creating an educational environment in which they can thrive. That didn’t happen for African-American students in Chaska, [a city in the district,]” attorney Anna Prakash, who represents some of the families, told the Daily Beast.
“Our clients tried and continue to try to get help from the administration,” said Prakash, “but, with all they have experienced and because meaningful change has not happened, they filed this lawsuit.”
The parents of the children weren’t immune to abusive tactics either, the suit charged, with one black mom charging that school officials labeled her “too aggressive” when she complained, with a substitute teacher working for the district going so far as to contact her employer to try to get her fired.
As reported by CNN, school district officials wouldn’t comment on the lawsuit, but the school superintendent wrote a letter to the Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who is black, promising to do better:
In the letter, he said the district is committed to an educational environment where all students feel safe and included. A 2015 survey showed about 3.3% of the students in the district are black, according to the Office of Civil Rights.
“We have ... been working in earnest to move the needle and improve outcomes for every child that walks through our doors,” Christopher wrote. Ellison declined to comment when reached by CNN.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in the US District Court of Minnesota. The six students want a jury trial to determine damages in excess of $75,000 for mental anguish and emotional distress.