Black student told she was too dark to dance sues school for racial discrimination

January 18, 2019 at 06:00 am | News

Nduta Waweru

Nduta Waweru | Contributor

January 18, 2019 at 06:00 am | News

Photo: University of Missouri Golden Girls/Facebook

An African-American student is taking a school to court for racial discrimination after she was told she was ‘too dark’ to perform during a school dance.

Camille Sturdivant, who graduated from Blue Valley Northwest High School in 2018 and was part of the 14-member Dazzlers dance team claimed that choreographer Kevin Murakami commented that her skin was too dark and would distract the audience from other dancers and that it clashed with the color of the costumes.

The lawsuit further indicates that the school’s former dance coach, Carley Fine, had been fired after texts between her and Murakami revealed their  mistreatment of Sturdivant over the colour of her skin after she won a spot in the Golden Girls dance team at the University of Missouri.

According to the texts, both Fine and Murakami were not amused she won the spot since she was a black girl.

“THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. I’m so mad,” the Murakami wrote. To which Fine replied with, “It actually makes my stomach hurt,” and “Bc she’s (expletive) black. I hate that.”

Although the school claimed that Fine was fired and was not allowed near the school and Sturdivant, the suit revealed that she  was seen at the school and with members of the dance team, reports the Kansas City News.

Following her comlaint of racial discrimination, Sturdivant claimed that she had been ostracized by the group. For starters, she learnt that the team banquet paid for by parents that had been canceled had gone on without her. At the final dance performance, all other dancers except the black students had ribbons on their costumes with the initials CL for the former head coach. The black students were also excluded from a photo shoot afterwards.

Sturdivant’s suit names as defendants the school district, principal Amy Pressly, Fine and Katie Porter, the parent of another dancer on the team and a school district teacher. It seeks unspecified damages

In a statement, the school district said that it is taking claims of discrimination very seriously.

“Respectful and meaningful relationships between staff and students are at the heart of Blue Valley’s culture. Discrimination of any kind has no place here. The District expects staff to treat all students with respect at all times, and any report that this expectation has not been fulfilled is taken very seriously. As stated in the Complaint, on May 1, 2018, Mrs. Sturdivant showed Dr. Pressly the text message between Mr. Murakami and Ms. Fine. Ms. Fine’s employment with the District was separated the following day on May 2, 2018.”

The other defendants haven’t yet responded to the suit.

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