Parents of Bloomfield Hills High School student sue $ 150 million over racial discrimination – The Oakland Press

A series of allegedly racist threats and incidents at Bloomfield Hills High School raised concerns among Cedric McCarrall and Carmen Davidson-McCarrall that their 15-year-old daughter was killed.

Parents on Thursday filed a federal complaint in Detroit alleging that the school district, superintendent and high school principal allowed a racially hostile environment and failed to “provide African American students and their parents with an apprenticeship. safe, healthy and non-discriminatory and general environment. “

They are asking for $ 150 million in damages, an investigation of the incidents, new anti-discrimination policies and corrective measures such as staff training.

Lawyer Leonard Mungo, representing the McCarralls, told a press conference on Friday that threats and racist messages on the walls violated the 14th Amendment, Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the law on Civil Rights by Elliott-Larsen of Michigan.

“In Bloomfield Hills, they openly threaten to kill black people. Kill, ”he said via Zoom. “My message to the board of directors and the superintendent is that they are on the verge of becoming accomplices in the murder. It is what it is. You know it happens, the threat is there and you don’t do anything.

Defendants include Bloomfield Hills School District, District Superintendent Patrick Watson and Bloomfield Hills High School Principal Charlie Hollerith.

Patrick Watson, Bloomfield Hills School District Superintendent (Bloomfield Hills School District)
Charlie Hollerith, Principal of Bloomfield Hills High School (Bloomfield Hills School District)

The lawsuit, which seeks class action status, follows a walkout last week by predominantly white school students protesting its response to racist messages on walls and on social media. Cedric McCarrall told the press conference that a racial insult was written on the bathroom wall as late as Thursday.

“At one point, you just have to say ‘enough’,” he said. “We are tired of walking… We want action. We not only want our child, but every child in this school district to feel safe. “

Carmen Davidson-McCarrall was visibly moved and left halfway through the press conference.

Cedric McCarrall said his daughter started grade nine in high school amid the COVID-19 pandemic in June 2020. Last year she attended high school virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year is in person.

“As students of color, the plaintiffs and their parents experienced racist, unfair, hurtful and sometimes dangerous interactions at Bloomfield Hills High School on the part of white staff and students,” the 29-page lawsuit alleges. “Although they were made aware of racial discrimination and related injustices by students and parents, (the defendants) did not take reasonably calculated steps to end the discrimination and ensure the safety of the child. complainant. “

The lawsuit alleges several instances where the student was victimized, including this month:

  • A black doll with red lips hung in a noose from a second-story railing, hanging in the main hallway for all to see. A white teacher reportedly said it was part of a science project.
  • A white student allegedly used the “N” word in class and the complainant reported it to the class teacher – who allegedly replied that it was “just black humor”.
  • The student entered the women’s restroom and found graffiti that read, “Kill everyone (N-words)!” Other graffiti suggested that “all (the N-words) should die”.

Images of the doll incident were recorded by other BHHS students and circulated on social media with tags of ‘Bloomfield so racist’. The images were included in the court file.

“I am a non-partisan,” McCarrall said on Friday. “I’ve been around this and I understand science projects. … Why would (the science teacher) choose a black doll, to put a rope around the neck of a black doll and drop it on a ramp so that everyone can see it? “

“How can you study, how can you take tests, how can you live your day as a kid, as a student when you have somebody there who says they want you dead ? McCarrall said Friday. “When I close my eyes I hear what my parents and grandparents went through in the Jim Crow South.”

Last week, hundreds of students walked out of the classroom with hand-made signs with messages saying “Stop the hate” and “There comes a time when silence is betrayal” to protest against this. they called a model of racist actions on the part of their classmates.

According to state data, 73% of students enrolled in high school are white and 10% are black.

According to the Detroit Free Press, earlier this week Principal Hollerith sent racist social media posts that were allegedly posted by students at Bloomfield High in a message to the school community.

“This behavior is deplorable, and we denounce it,” Hollerith wrote. “When hate incidents happen, our entire community is harmed. Hatred has no place in our school.

None of the defendants could be reached for comment.

Bloomfield Hills – Lawsuit Against Racism

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