Black Students Sue Minnesota School District For Turning ‘Blind Eye’ To Racist Bullying For Years

Demonstrators prepare to enter the Leighton Criminal Courts Building as jury selection begins in the murder trial for Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke on Wednesday, September 5, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. - The trial of a white Chicago cop over the fatal shooting of a black teenager began Wednesday, September 5, 2018 as protesters accused authorities of a "cover up" in a case that has set America's third-largest city on edge. Police officer Jason Van Dyke faces murder charges for shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in an October 2014 confrontation.  The incident, captured on police dash-cam video, has upended the city's politics with fears of violence if the officer is acquitted.

Outside the courthouse, dozens of protesters decried police shootings and demanded accountability, chanting, "Sixteen shots and a cover up." (Photo by Joshua Lott / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)

Black Students Sue Minnesota School District For Turning ‘Blind Eye’ To Racist Bullying For Years

A culture of physical violence, death threats and racial slurs against Black students in Eastern Carver County Schools persists while school officials have allegedly done nothing.

Published September 6, 2019

Written by Zayda Rivera

“Not again, are you serious? The same exact issue of blackface again?”

That was the response from parents when a student wearing blackface appeared in the Chaska High School yearbook in May, the Star Tribune reported at the time

Now, six former and current Black students, and their parents, of the suburban Minnesota school district, are taking legal action against Eastern Carver County Schools for years of racist bullying that has been met with silence from school officials, reports the Star Tribune

The federal lawsuit states Black students in the district, where only 3 percent of students are Black, according to the Office of Civil Rights, endured years of physical violence, death threats, and racial slurs, and the county “turned a blind eye” to it all. 

The Eastern Carver County Schools district includes the Minnesota suburban towns of Chaska, Chanhassen, Victoria, and Carver. 

The lawsuit also alleges Black students were prohibited from hanging “Black Lives Matter” posters, including one featuring Malcolm X, because it was too “controversial.” 

A “Black History Uncensored” protest followed, and several white students responded with signs reading “All Lives Matter,” with some reportedly following Black students to class, reports the Star Tribune. 

The list of examples of blatant racism the students taking legal action have endured over the years is long, outrageous, and includes incidents like a white student posting a Snapchat video in which he held a gun on his lap and threatened to shoot several Black students if they attended a school assembly on race relations. 

It also includes an incident from fall 2018 when white students were allowed to attend a Chaska High School football game wearing blackface and an Afro wig, followed by a student wearing blackface in the yearbook that same school year, the lawsuit states, and the list goes on and on. 

The  lawsuit goes on to state that years of racist bullying the administrators and teachers knowingly allowed hindered the victims' education and inflicted emotional abuse, according to the Star Tribune.    

“It’s a districtwide issue -- it’s not an instance of an isolated teacher who’s maybe out of line,” Anna Prakash, one of the attorneys representing the students, told the Star Tribune. “I think it’s just really sad that this is happening, and I’m hopeful this issue will bring about system wide change.” 

Superintendent Clint Christopher acknowledged the school district has failed in combating racism reports the Star Tribune. 

In an open letter to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who recently described the incidents as “deeply disturbing,” Christopher said district officials are working to create an environment where “all students feel safe.” 

Prakash added, “At some point, enough is enough.”

Photo: Joshua Lott / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images


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