ACLU Accuses Vermont School of Ignoring Harassment of Black Student

In Summary

The ACLU of Vermont is accusing Twin Valley Middle High School of unlawfully depriving a Black student of her right to an environment free of racial discrimination.

WARNING: This story contains discussions of racially motivated bullying and harassment.

Twin Valley Middle High School has been accused by the ACLU of Vermont with failing to protect a Black student from racially motivated harassment, bullying and threats, per the Associated Press

Former student “C.B.” was the only Black student enrolled at Twin Valley during the 2020-2021 academic year, according to the ACLU, and was subjected to racial slurs, “references to white supremacy and threats of physical [harm] from classmates.” Despite receiving several reports of abuse from teachers and C.B.’s mother, school officials did nothing to address the situation. 

RELATED: ACLU Demands Changes After Black Girl Arrested at School Over Drawing 

The ACLU said the “many” racist incidents reported to school officials included a group of male students repeatedly accosting C.B. in the hallway, raising the Nazi salute and chanting the N-word at her. A Snapchat video from the spring showed a group of male students at the school yelling the N-word and “Burn, Burn, Burn!” saying they “hope [C.B.] burns in hell.” 

“Our client was driven from her school after the people she turned to for help did nothing to support her and further emboldened her abusers,” said ACLU of Vermont Executive Director James Lyall in a statement. “Racist harassment and bullying remain a common experience for students of color in Vermont, and the state has a responsibility to do much more to prevent incidents like these from recurring day after day and year after year.” 

RELATED: Oklahoma Republican Rep. Wants to Limit How Slavery is Taught in Schools 

The student eventually stopped participating in school athletics, per ACLU, her grades dropped and she suffered anxiety and depression. She was forced to change schools just weeks before the year ended. 

Superintendent Barbara Anne Komons-Montroll denies the allegations, claiming that when the administration was made aware of the claims, it alerted the families, investigated and took appropriate disciplinary action, per AP. She said the district has stringent anti-harassment procedures in place and is dedicated to “eliminating racism from our schools.” 

RELATED: Lawsuit Filed by Black Man Estate Alleges Negligence as Cause of Death 

Multiple reports over the last two decades have revealed racism is pervasive in Vermont schools statewide and needs be addressed, per ACLU. 

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by racially motivated bullying and harassment, resources are available here.

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