A former student has filed a lawsuit against her high school district in Iowa, alleging racial discrimination.
Following a 2021 incident in which three Black Waukee high school kids were allegedly forced to ride home in the rear of the bus during a band trip, a lawsuit was purportedly filed.
According to The Iowa Capital Dispatch, the lawsuit was filed by Bailey Hilson, a now-former student who was a high school senior at the time, and alleges that a white parent chaperoning the trip initiated an incident with the Black students that finally became physical. Furthermore, the lawsuit argues that Assistant Principal Christie Pitts’ investigation of the incident failed to effectively treat Hilson’s mental distress.
According to a letter sent to the district’s superintendent in December 2021, the Black students, members of the Northwest High School band’s color guard, headed to the bus before the competition’s awards ceremony, which allegedly upset the parent volunteer due to the students’ “disgraceful” gesture toward their teammates.
The Black kids, along with two other white students, boarded the bus with approval from the band director before the parent chaperone ordered them off, dismissed the white students, and approached the remaining Black students with another white parent.
The parent “responded by ‘getting in Hilson’s face, shouting at her, and beating her in the forehead with her finger,” wrote Jerry Foxhoven, Hilson’s Des Moines attorney.
According to reports, the youngsters asked not to ride the bus back to Waukee with the parent volunteers.
“This mature and reasonable request was denied, and the three Black students were instructed to ‘sit in the back of the bus’ and not interact with the adults on the way home,” Foxhoven wrote. “This direction…created a pathetic scene reminiscent of our nation’s history of segregation in public transportation. The students, left with no other choice, followed instructions.”
“We regret the breakdown in the system that led to this event,” said the message, which was signed by the school’s two band directors.
“YOU CAN BE ASSURED THAT WE ARE TAKING PROACTIVE STEPS WITH ADMINISTRATION TO HELP ENSURE THAT SUCH AN INCIDENT DOES NOT HAPPEN AGAIN.”
According to the Des Moines Register, the youngsters were not at fault, and Pitts concluded that the parent volunteer grabbed or touched two students.
According to the lawsuit, Hilson “suffered extreme emotional turmoil, leading her to skip school, struggle with depression, and feel lonely and unsupported at school, causing her to miss the actual joy generally enjoyed by a senior in high school.”
The school district, Superintendent Brad Buck, and former Principal Fairouz Bishara-Rantisi are named as defendants in the complaint, but not the parent volunteers.