Black Minnesota Parents Sue School Over Racial Attacks on Their Kids

In Summary

The group of Black parents allege that their children were subject to being punched, kicked, spat on and called the N-word by white students at their Minnesota school.

Black parents have sued a Minnesota school system, alleging that their children have been the targets of racist bullying from students and teachers. 

According to NBC News, Katelyn Hansen, Roynetter Birgans, Desmond Gilbert and Kali Proctor are demanding systemic changes at Duluth Edison Charter Schools (DECS) and are seeking monetary compensation.  

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“There’s been a lot of frustrated families in the Duluth Edison community. The families in this case, all they really ever wanted is for their children to be treated fairly at school,” said Rebekah Bailey, an attorney representing the plaintiffs. 

One parent claims that a teacher chopped off a student’s hair and tossed it in the trash.  

“They fought long and hard to remedy their individual situations as best they could through the system. This case was only filed when they exhausted those opportunities,” Bailey said. 

The lawsuit, which was filed in April 2019, alleges that Black children were exposed to discrimination at Duluth Edison Charter’s Raleigh and North Star Academy locations and the staff failed to rectify the issues.  

According to the suit, white students would call their Black classmates “monkey” and “negro,” and say they “look like what’s inside a toilet,” NBC reported.  

It also said that white students would bite, kick, punch and spit on Black students, along with repeatedly calling them the N-word. 

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One Black student “was spit on so profusely by a white student that she had to change her clothes,” according to the lawsuit. 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, the National Women’s Law Center and several other groups showed their support to the families by filing a brief last month after Time Sullivan, an attorney for DECS, petitioned for the judge to dismiss the lawsuit in August.  

Tammy Rackliffe, a spokesperson with DECS, submitted a statement to NBC News, saying the school, “strongly denies any allegation of discriminatory conduct and has vigorously defended itself against these false allegations.” 

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here.  

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