Minnesota district settles with African-American student for allowing students to celebrate “Wangsta Day” during homecoming week
As reported on StarTribune.com, the Red Wing School District has agreed to a settlement, pending court approval, of a suit brought by an African-American student over an informal homecoming week ritual mocking African-Americans. The federal lawsuit was brought by Quera Pruitt, a former student, in August 2011, alleging that about 70 Red Wing High School students engaged in an exercise in bigotry and bullying by wearing baggy pants and “do-rags”, and flashing gang signs on Wednesday of homecoming week.
The day had become known among students as “Wednesday Wigger Day” or “Wangsta Day.” According to the suit, the racially offensive activity sent Pruitt into a “deep depression” that almost prompted her to quit school. Although school administrators did not sanction the event, which dated back to at least 2007, the suit charged that they “failed to take adequate steps to address the conduct.”
Pruitt’s attorney, Joshua Williams, confirmed that the case had been settled, but declined to discuss details. The school board voted last week to settle the case.
Source: StarTribune.com, 7/14/12, By Staff
[Editor's Note: In December 2012, Legal Clips summarized the federal district court opinion in Pruitt v. Anderson, which held that Pruitt had stated a valid Title VI claim against the school district, but not the superintendent in his individual capacity, for a racially hostile environment. However, the court rejected her equal protection claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on the ground that it was too vague to provide the defendants with sufficient notice of the alleged unconstitutional conduct.]