Did This Texas School Do Enough To Prevent Racist Bullying?

A federal appeals court thinks so.

By Hady MawajdehOctober 21, 2015 3:03 pm,

Can you imagine what school would be like if you were constantly being bullied because of the color of your skin? Kyana Fennell and her sisters were in that situation during their time in the Marion Independent School District, northeast of San Antonio.

While in school the girls endured relentless racist bullying from students and even from some members of the staff. So, after years of trying to work within the system, their mother pulled them out of the school and filed a civil right lawsuit against the Marion ISD.

Just last week, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Fennell and her family’s suit against the school and the school employees. Dahlia Lithwick who writes about the courts and the law for Slate, has been following this story.

In this kind of case called a summary judgment motion, Lithwick says the court “assumes everything single thing that these children allege to have happened, has happened.” They go through years of pervasive harassment.

“I can’t believe any school district in 2015 even experiences this,” she says. “I was astounded that this goes on.”

“We want to believe in this country we’re post-racial and we’ve gotten over this,” Lithwick says. “But in majority Caucasian school districts in some cases, I bet this happens more than we know.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

-How the court viewed the years of threatening notes, incidents involving nooses, and “scorching” use of the N-word directed at these children

-Why the courts decided the school was not “negligent” in the dealing with this harassment

-How often this kind of bullying happens and what deeper reasons may enable courts to rule against victims