The American Civil Liberties Union this week filed a lawsuit against Eureka City Schools in California on behalf of four teenagers, who said they were bullied by other students and subjected to discrimination by teachers, the Raw Story reports.
The suit, filed in conjunction with the National Center for Youth Law, charges that racial slurs hurled at black students by white students went unchecked by teachers and administrators, court documents (pdf) show. In one case, a student made monkey noises, threw food and physically assaulted a 14-year-old plaintiff.
“White students frequently use racial slurs, calling black students n——r, and making comments such as, ‘black girls grow up to be whores,’ ” the suit says. “Although students regularly utter these slurs in class and in school hallways, school staff do not stop them. Not only do school staff allow students to use racial slurs in their presence, but school staff also make derogatory comments, such as, ‘black people get bored easily.’ ”
Besides the 14-year-old boy, other plaintiffs are 13- and 15-year-old black girls and a 16-year-old Native American student. They have attended five different schools in the district, where they, the suit says, “experienced years of intentional discrimination by district staff based on their race, sex and disability status.”
Additionally, the ACLU has asked the U.S. Department of Education to investigate claims of bias against Native American students and physical abuse by a school administrator at nearby Loleta Union School District, the Times-Standard reports.
Michael Harris, an attorney with the National Center for Youth Law, told the Times-Standard that he spent months investigating both districts, where he found a “culture of lawlessness.”
“This culture has bred this belief among some students that they can target other students and nothing will happen to them, and they are pretty much right,” Harris told the Times-Standard.
Eureka City Schools issued a statement to the Times-Standard, saying officials were unaware of evidence to support the suit’s allegations.
”We do not tolerate harassment or discrimination, and we believe every student is entitled to a safe school environment free from discrimination, harassment, intimidation and bullying,” the statement reads. “As a district, we take the allegations seriously and we are actively investigating the charges to determine the facts.”