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Black family lawsuit: School officials did not protect gifted daughter from black student abuse


The parents of an academically stellar African-American student are suing a South Carolina school district alleging school officials did not prevent continued verbal and physical abuse of their daughter from … other black students.

Students at Richland School District One’s Hand Middle School “called (the girl) racial slurs like ‘Oreo,’ ‘white girl,’ ‘wannabe white girl’ … and generally maligned her for ‘acting white,’” the lawsuit says, according to The State.

Hand’s student body is approximately 50 percent black, but the girl was just one of a few African-American students in her advanced courses.

“During those years, she also was “repeatedly pushed, shoved and tripped in hallways and other locations around Hand Middle School … (and) suffered several notable physical assaults,” the lawsuit continues.

The parents contend they complained to school and district officials as well as board members, “little was done and the bullying continued.” The parents also claim the superintendent avoided them when they tried to meet with him.

A statement from the family’s attorney, Christopher Bryant, provided to The College Fix added that:

The unfortunate events described in the complaint should not occur at Hand Middle or any other school in the state. All children should have an opportunity to learn in a safe, supportive environment. We attempted to resolve this situation without filing a lawsuit before the school year began, but we were unable to open a line of dialogue with the school district. Now that a lawsuit has been filed, we look forward to working with Richland One to quickly and meaningfully address the issues in the complaint. Until we hear from the school district, there’s not much more that I can add.

From the story:

The girl, whom The State is not identifying because she is a minor, is still a student at Hand.

The girl’s parents’ attorney, Christopher Bryant of Charleston, said, “This is an unfortunate situation, and the complaint speaks for itself. We just want to resolve this quickly and meaningfully so that this child can go back to being a child and that all Richland One students can learn in a safe, supportive environment.” …

In February and March, the violence against the girl escalated, the lawsuit says. Students threw water in her face, beat her with a bottle and slammed her face with a backpack, chipping two teeth, the lawsuit says. She ate her lunches hiding in a girls’ toilet stall to avoid the bullies, the lawsuit says.

Many of the incidents are documented by school videos and witnesses, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit raises a larger, cultural issue beyond the alleged racist bullying. It cites writings by black identity expert Kimberly Jade Norwood, a Washington University law school professor, who has studied how some African-American students stigmatize others of their race for doing things such as homework, going to class and performing well in school.

According to a commenter of the article, this year Hand has a new principal and some new vice principals.

Editor’s note: The post was amended to add a statement from the family’s attorney.

Read the full complaint and full State article.

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