Racial discrimination lawsuit filed against Babcock Neighborhood School

Reporter: Annette Montgomery Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

The “n-word,” “cotton picker,” “monkey,” and much more. These words were allegedly used to torment a classmate and teammate.

A student at Babcock Neighborhood School said that she went through racial discrimination and bullying from people she played volleyball with.

Now, the family wants someone held accountable for what their child went through.

A 33-page lawsuit details the racial slurs, discrimination, and bullying a student at Babcock Neighborhood School said they endured.

The lawsuit says the high school student was called names like monkey and cotton picker and was physically assaulted on a school-sanctioned trip.

The attorneys representing the family said they want justice, not only for the school to be held accountable but also for the parents of the children who allegedly let this happen.

Attorney Joseph North Jr. is representing the student in this lawsuit against Babcock Neighborhood School, the owner, and six parents.

The lawsuit walks us through some of the other forms of racial discrimination and slurs he said his client, as well as other students at Babcock Neighborhood School, were subjected to.

The lawsuit claims the school was made aware of these allegations.

In an email between principal Amanda Sanford and the student’s mother about the incident, she wrote, “We have investigated this situation. While the language is inappropriate, it is determined to not be racially discriminatory.”

Now, the student’s family wants justice.

“The families, they want to see change at Babcock, whether that’s administrative, new policies, diversity and inclusion board, we want to see change,” North said.

WINK News contacted the Charlotte County School District for comment, as Babcock Neighborhood School is a public charter school. They referred us to the school.

Attorney North said his client did get a letter from the school, along with other parents, after this incident, saying the school was creating a student civility task force.

The email sent to families by the Florida Charter School Alliance:

The Florida Charter School Alliance is a non-profit charter school support and advocacy organization. We are supporting the administration at Babcock by handling media inquiries for them. That is why your request was forwarded to me.

While Florida law does not permit the school to discuss the details of the students or disciplinary actions taken, I can confirm that the school followed protocol, investigated the matter, and asked local law enforcement to investigate.  

The language used, and the behavior exhibited in the video is intolerable. The school’s policy is that the Administration take immediate action when complaints are brought to their attention. To maintain student privacy, as Florida law requires, the school can not discuss the details of any disciplinary actions. However, disciplinary protocols were followed. The school looks forward to talking with representatives of the NAACP about their concerns. They encourage open dialogue as they continue to address this situation and the well-being of all students.

The school is not going to comment on pending litigation.

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