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Parents of Six Black Students Suing Minnesota School District Over Allegations of Racial Bullying

A lawsuit filed by the parents of six former and current Black students of multiple Minnesota schools accuses some schools in the district of failing to address cases of racial bullying.

The allegations include incidents that students say happened at elementary, middle and high schools across the Independent School District 112, also known as Eastern Carver County Schools.

The lawsuit says that the school district emboldened racist behavior by not addressing repeated complaints about discrimination and other acts the parents consider to be racist.

Here are some allegations from the lawsuit:

September 2018: Students attended a high school football game wearing blackface, one in an afro wig. The school talked tp parents of the black students after the photos appeared in the media but didnt address the White students.

December 2018: A black student’s gym shirt was stolen and returned to his locker at a local middle school with the “N-word” written on it in three places.

February 2019: Two white high school students posted a photo wearing a charcoal cosmetic mask on social media with the hashtag #blackface. When a Black student showed the photo to the principal, the response was “something to the effect of, ‘Where is this? Can this go viral?'”

The same month, black students were told not to display several Black History month posters because they were too “controversial.” But they say white students were allowed to carry “all lives matter” signs at a rally for school safety.

April 2019: White students posted a Snapchat image of 25 black students with their faces on an area of Google map labeled “Negro Hill.” It’s unclear whether this happened on school grounds or had any connection to the district.

May 2019: The school district allowed a picture of a white student wearing blackface to be printed in a high school yearbook. The school is having the yearbooks reprinted without the image, KARE reported.

The lawsuit also alleges that Black students have been called “monkey”, been told they don’t belong, physically assaulted, racially profiled and received death threats over a race relations assembly at a one of the schools.

According to the lawsuit, an autistic student said he was called the “N word,” poked with pencils, shot with rubber bands and threatened.

The suit alleges that as a result of the harassment, students are suffering emotional trauma and education disruption. Four of the six plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit have left schools in the district due to the racial incidents and the lack of action taken by the school board.

The lawsuit also says that instead of any action being taken in response to these reported racial incidents, the White students were given escorts to protect them from being targeted by the Black students they victimized.

The district’s superintendent, Clint Christopher, wrote a letter last week to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, pledging more efforts to ensure inclusion. 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.

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