$1M lawsuit against Raymond School District headed to court
It has been more than two years since her son left Raymond High School after allegedly facing multiple incidents of racial harassment during the 2010-11 school year.
Dozens of motions and objections have been filed in the case since it was first brought in October 2011.
On May 10, U.S. District Court Judge Steven J. McAuliffe issued summary judgment in parts of the case, but the overarching issue of whether the district violated Title VI of the federal civil rights law is scheduled to go before a jury on May 21. Former superintendent Jeanne Richards, high school principal Kirk Beitler and former assistant principal Jayme Rodriguez are also named in the complaint.
School officials have not denied that a high school student was subjected to racial harassment during the 2010-11 school year, but said they thought they were following the correct law in handling the matter.
According to the OCR report, the student was called racial slurs, handed a book on the Ku Klux Klan and asked if he wanted to learn something, and another student threatened to burn a cross on his front lawn.
She said her client wishes it had never happened to her son in the first place, and wants to prevent it from happening to any other students in the future.
But Hewes said it does not change the fact that the district did not respond adequately when faced with racial harassment issues in the 2010-11 school year.
In the May 10 order, summary judgment was made in favor of the individual defendants on the Title VI claim, but not in favor of the district or SAU.
He states that a reasonable jury could conclude that the harassment was “more than the sort of teasing and bullying that generally takes place in schools.”
“Those basic facts, however, give rise to competing inferences about the reasonableness of the district’s actions in light of the known circumstances,” the judge writes.
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