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Board of Education denies racial hostility in school system

The Washington County Board of Education as well as a student at Daniel Boone High School filed responses in federal court last week to a woman’s claims that her son was repeatedly bullied and then beat up because of his race.
The woman filed the lawsuit in May, nearly a year to the day her son was involved in a fight aboard a Washington County school bus. In the lawsuit, the woman claims her son has been taunted and picked on since elementary school because his mother is white and his father is black.
The suit alleges the years of abuse culminated on May 27, 2010, when the teen endured a “brutal physical attack” from a fellow Boone student while aboard a school bus.
The woman is suing both the alleged attacker and the school system, saying school officials failed to adequately address the alleged racial injustices her son endured.
In response to the lawsuit, the school system is denying there was any racial harassment, bullying or breach of any standard or duty of care.
The filing also denies any violation of the boy’s constitutional rights, noting that a “racially hostile environment” did not exist in the school system.
The school system called a video clip from the school bus incident “misleading” and “inflammatory,” saying it should be removed from the complaint and the entire complaint should be dismissed.
The clip shows two boys standing face to face on the bus. The alleged victim’s back is to the camera as the alleged assailant lands multiple punches to the boy’s face. The alleged victim does not defend himself or retaliate in the clip. The fight ends when two other boys on the bus stand up and pull the pair apart.
According to the school system, the clip “misrepresents the facts and depicts the defendants in an unfavorable light.”
No remarks from either of the boys can be heard on the clip. However, the school system claims it is the alleged victim who instigated the confrontation that led to the fight aboard a school bus. Calling him the “aggressor,” the response states that the alleged victim “provoked the altercation and resultant fight that took place…”
Lawyers for the system said the clip was “provided to media sources and has been shown on television… thereby prejudicing prospective jurors and/or witnesses regarding the facts of this case.” The video clip was attached to the original complaint, a document of public record.
Lawyers for the student defendant in the case also took issue with the video clip, calling it “only partial evidence as there are videos in existence that show the entire altercation, including the harassment” by the plaintiff.
In a response filed on behalf of the student, lawyers deny the teen harassed the boy and instead claim the alleged victim got on the bus that day with the “sole intent to harass and assault” the plaintiff.
Like the school system, the alleged attacker claims the victim was the initial aggressor and “engaged as a mutual combatant” in the altercation.