A group of parents filed a lawsuit against a school system in Minnesota, claiming their Black children were the targets of racist abuse from both students and staff, NBC News reports.
According to the report, one Duluth Edison Charter Schools teacher allegedly cut off a student's dreadlock and threw it in the trash. The suit, originally filed in April 2019, alleges a "culture of racism at the school's Raleigh and North Star Academy campuses and school officials' refusal to address it," according to NBC News.
"There's been a lot of frustrated families in the Duluth Edison community," said Rebekah Bailey, an attorney representing the parents. "The families in this case, all they really ever wanted is for their children to be treated fairly at school. They fought long and hard to remedy their individual situations as best they could through the system. This case was only filed when they exhausted those opportunities."
After an attorney for DECS requested to have the suit dismissed, at least two dozen nonprofit advocacy groups filed an amicus brief in support of the parents.
"The lawsuit said that white students bit, punched, kicked, pinched and spit on Black students and repeatedly called them the N-word. The white classmates also taunted them, calling them 'negro' or 'monkey' and telling them they 'look like what's inside a toilet,'" NBC News reports. "In 2017, a white student at North Star Academy threatened to stab a Black kindergartner in the eye with a screwdriver because she looked 'different,' the lawsuit said. White students allegedly pinched and kicked the girl, who is biracial, on several occasions. And, during one bus ride to school, an older white student punched the girl so hard, she had a bruise on her rib, the suit states."
The girls father reportedly confronted school officials over the accusations numerous times, but no "meaningful action" was taken.
A spokesperson for the DECS strongly denied the accusations.
"There is nothing more important to Duluth Edison Charter Schools than the well-being of the students we educate every day. Duluth Edison Charter Schools has welcomed a diverse community of learners for nearly 25 years," Tammy Rackliffe said in the statement. "Throughout that time, we have remained committed to creating a respectful, inclusive and safe learning environment for students, staff and our families. The core values that shape our school community include respect, compassion, justice, and integrity. We take seriously any concerns from students, parents and our community that do not reflect those values."
According to the lawsuit, one Black student "was spit on so profusely by a white student that she had to change her clothes."
Read the full report over at NBC News.