The Saucon Valley School District in Pennsylvania, which is about 75 miles outside of Philadelphia, was accused of not properly handling claims of racial discrimination and has been embroiled in a lawsuit for years. The lawsuit was finally settled, but considering the treatment the Black students were forced to endure, the terms appeared to be a slap on the wrist.
In 2017, parents Kerry and Sheila MacLean filed a civil rights lawsuit alleging the school district did not take proper action to address how their sons were racially harassed in its middle and high schools beginning in 2013. The lawsuit said their sons suffered physical and emotional injuries, claiming “the district’s failure to act also violated the boys’ constitutional rights, including the right to bodily integrity,” according to The Morning Call.
The outlet also reported, “The circumstances led to an incident in which the MacLeans’ older son was charged after punching another student, according to the lawsuit. He was provoked, the lawsuit says, by an October 2016 video in which the other student made racist commentary over a video of him eating chicken. The boy who made the video was later charged with ethnic intimidation and harassment. Both boys were admitted to a diversionary program in which they would avoid a conviction in juvenile court.”
In one incident, a Confederate flag was draped over their older son’s shoulder — so much for “liberal” Pennsylvania.
The settlement terms for the lawsuit mandated that The Saucon Valley School District will continue anti-bullying programs, provide anti-bias training for the next three years and pay almost $100,000.
“It also must pay $96,500 for expenses, attorney’s fees and trusts to be held for two people until they turn 21. The cost will be covered by the district’s insurance,” the Morning Call explained. “The district will also fund up to $15,000 in annual costs for private or parochial school tuition for three years for someone whose name is redacted.”
Paying $100,000 is infinitesimal compared to the years of bullying these young people endured. The district should have paid in the millions to learn the hard lesson that racism costs. Sadly, the district more than likely didn’t learn any lesson.