RED WING, Minn., Aug. 4 (UPI) — A lawsuit charges a Minnesota school violated anti-discrimination law by allowing a racist homecoming event in which white students mocked African-Americans.
During “Wigger Day” — a reference to whites who imitate mannerisms, speech and clothing of some African-Americans — dozens of students wore baggy pants and displayed gang signs, the suit says, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
The event at Red Wing High School violated Title VI, which forbids racial discrimination at a federally funded school, the suit contends, because it “failed to take adequate steps to address the conduct.”
The suit says the event, held in 2007, 2008 and 2009, constituted discrimination and bullying and led to “deep depression” for black student Quera Pruitt, who almost dropped out as a result before graduating last year.
“It’s offensive to black folks and, frankly, it’s offensive to anyone,” said Joshua Williams, Pruitt’s lawyer.
Pruitt’s suit seeks more than $75,000.
Only about 3 percent of the 879 eighth- through 12th-graders at the school, northeast of St. Paul, are black, the Minnesota Department of Education says.
The school district denied discrimination.
“(Red Wing school district) has been and continues to be committed to providing an education to its students that is free from discrimination and harassment based upon race or otherwise,” Superintendent Karsten Anderson said in a statement.
“The district denies the allegations that it has created a racially hostile environment and looks forward to meeting these allegations in court.”