Parents of black students who once attended school in a Cincinnati, OH, suburb claim that their children were expelled for making rap videos off-campus. The parents of four black students who once attended Colerain High School have filed a lawsuit on behalf of their children. They want the expulsions on their children’s’ records expunged and are seeking punitive damages. The school claims that the students were disciplined for unspecified violations that were committed on campus.
Attorney Robert Newman, representing the parents, said that the students were expelled from Colerain High School in Colerain Township, a 20-minute drive northwest of Cincinnati, for making rap music videos off campus and that black students were unfairly targeted. The parents’ lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati against the Northwest Local School District, the Colerain Township Board of Trustees and some police officers.
A school district statement said the lawsuit contains inaccurate information. An attorney representing the township didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on Tuesday.
School officials and police officers interrogated black students about their recent social media postings and affiliations with other black youths and showed them photos collected by school staff and police from social media websites, the lawsuit says. The photos showed the students making various hand signs or participating in rap music videos, it says.
“Based on these images, school administrators accused more than a dozen African-American students of making ‘street signs’ and belonging to a ‘gang,’” the lawsuit states.
Newman said white students involved in similar conduct weren’t disciplined.
“This case is about racial stereotyping,” he said.
The attorney for the school district says that there are inaccuracies in the lawsuit and rejects the assertion that race was a factor in this situation.
We will continue to update this story.
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