A group of parents have filed a lawsuit against an Ohio school district after their children were expelled for making a rap video off campus.
Attorney Robert Newman said the teens were expelled from Colerain High School in Colerain Township and that black students were unfairly targeted. The white students involved in the video were not expelled.
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 district’s attorney, John Concannon, said 14 students were suspended and recommended for expulsion on April 10 primarily for threats made at school and in social media against students or staff. He said black and white students were disciplined and all were welcomed back to school. Newman said one student transferred to another school.
Concannon said disciplinary actions weren’t gang-related or about rap music videos.
The lawsuit is asking for the expulsions to be expunged and punitive damages.