A mother has taken action against the Franklin County Board of Education and several administrators after her biracial son was reportedly called a n****r and was threatened with a noose. The mother, who is an employee of Phil Campbell High School within the Franklin County school district and the school her son attended, filed a lawsuit earlier this month claiming that her son was subjected to the abuse for two years – during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years, according to AL.com. The mother claims that neither teachers nor personnel disciplined the students responsible for harassing and threatening her son, which prompted the lawsuit.
The mother filed a Title VI lawsuit on behalf of her son who was identified in the claim as “M.G.” “Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 means entities that receive federal funding are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, and are also required to have procedures in place for investigating complaints from people who believe they have been discriminated against,” AL.com reports.
M.G. attended both seventh and eighth grade at Phil Campbell High School, which includes grades 7-12. The school’s student body is also less than one percent non-white.
The mother is suing the Franklin County Board of Education, as well as three men who were either employed by the board or the school when the incidents occurred. Court records do not indicate if the school board responded to the lawsuit, which was filed in the Northern District of Alabama.
The lawsuit reports that the mother informed the school of the racial discrimination and harassment, but “nothing” was done.
“At PCHS M.G. was subjected to harassment and abuse based on his race, including one incident in which one of his teachers participated, yet school administrators and the superintendent failed to take appropriate remedial action,” the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit claimed that “M.G. was subjected to racial slurs and harassment on what seemed like a near-daily basis.”
The lawsuit went on to detail the incidents in question. In October 2017, M.G. and a white student got into a physical altercation in the school lunchroom. The alleged video footage shows that both students were involved in the fight, but the assistant principal at the time only disciplined M.G. He received in-school suspension for three-and-a-half days, while the white student was not punished.
“Roughly a month later, M.G.’s mother insisted that M.G. report the harassment rather than depend on her to do it. Therefore, on November 13, 2017, M.G. told (the assistant principal) that in PE students would call him the N-word and a stupid N-word and tell him he belonged in the cottonfield,” the lawsuit claims.
M.G. reported the issue to the assistant principal who asserted that he did not deserve that type of treatment and said the situation would be addressed. The assistant principal also advised him to report further incidents, so they can be handled.
The day after reporting that incident, the student claimed he was attacked with a racial slur by one of his basketball teammates while on the bus. The lawsuit claims that when M.G. told the assistant principal about the incident that transpired on the bus, he was told “if he was going to be a troublemaker that he needed to just turn his basketball jersey in, that they didn’t have time for trouble on a ball team. (The assistant principal) told M.G. that if he couldn’t get along with other teammates, there was no place for him on the team.”
The lawsuit claims no actions were taken following the school bus incident.
Another racist occurrence reportedly happened while in the locker room. M.G.’s basketball teammates were playing a song called “Alabama N-word,” during the 2017-2018 basketball season. The lawsuit reports that M.G. was “perhaps reluctant” to give up his position on the team, so he opted to not tell his parents about the racist song being played. He later informed his parents and his mother notified the assistant principal who said he “would look into it and make sure the coach knew.” The players played the song until the end of the season in January 2018. They were later approached by M.G.’s father, who questioned if they “were prejudiced against MG because of his skin color.”
M.G. claims he was called the N-word in March, May and November of 2018. In November, the lawsuit claimed “a male student, S.B., in front of numerous other students, threw basketballs at M.G., subjected M.G. to numerous racial slurs, showed other students a picture of a noose, and told M.G. he was going to hang him. M.G.’s parents did not learn about the incident until Sunday, November 25, 2018, after receiving calls from parents of some of the other students who witnessed it. M.G.’s parents also learned that S.B. reportedly made a threat to shoot up the school.”
Following that incident, the mother notified school administration. The police were contacted as well due to the nature of the threat. S.B. was reportedly interviewed by police at school the next day and the lawsuit claims that he was allowed to return to class. School officials also failed to report the comments made about M.G. to police.
M.G.’s parents filed criminal charges. They also removed him from Phil Campbell High School and transferred him to another public school.
The mother’s lawsuit is for two counts of racial discrimination.