Lawsuit alleges racial discrimination at a north Georgia high school

Published: May. 17, 2022 at 11:30 PM EDT
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ROME, Ga. (CBS46) - Black students and parents are taking one north Georgia school to court.

The students say they were suspended for wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts and protesting. The protest in response to this was white students allegedly using racial slurs and waving a confederate flag at school. Those suing say the white students were never disciplined.

Racial discrimination by a school district and its leaders is the essence of a 57-page lawsuit filed by Black parents and students from Coosa High School.

“I want to change the culture of the Floyd County School System, I want it to be a better place for all students, and I don’t want racism to continue, I want it to be dealt with,” said Lakeisha Turner, a CHS parent who alleges racial discrimination at school.

For Turner, this lawsuit is about future generations at Coosa High School and in Floyd County so they won’t have to go through what her daughters endured.

Turner’s daughters, also plaintiffs in the case, and other Black students say they were suspended after they held a protest in response to white students waving a confederate flag on campus. They say no white students with the flag or participating in the protest were disciplined.

“All the African Americans - they suspended them, and they didn’t suspend them. They didn’t suspend me and I was yelling and loud. It’s because I’m white,” said one Coosa High student who is white.

Turner’s daughters were suspended for five days but she said this issue is bigger than one incident. The lawsuit said school leaders repeatedly failed to address acts of racial animosity and reports of hate were continually overlooked.

“It’s not bad for them to say the ‘n’ word to my kids or call them nappy head porch monkeys,” said Turner.

The lawsuit says the defendants – the Floyd County School District along with five school board members – violated the student’s civil rights of equal protection under the 14th amendment. Their right to free speech in the first amendment and their right to be free from discrimination and retaliation under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For Turner – she says racism in northern Georgia won’t end overnight but through this lawsuit, she’s stressing it has no place in schools.

“But you can’t bring that to school and those administrators should have been morally compelled to protect these children,” Turner said.

CBS46 News reached out to the district about these allegations but they said they cannot comment on pending litigation.