Federal lawsuit allege discrimination

Two Richfield mothers filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Richfield Public Schools, alleging that the district imposed discriminatory disciplinary practices […]

Richfield High School

Two Richfield mothers filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Richfield Public Schools, alleging that the district imposed discriminatory disciplinary practices against their children after gunshots were fired at a homecoming game last year. 

Although the three Richfield High School students were not involved in the shooting, court documents stated, administrators suspended them, subjected them to daily searches, banned them from extracurricular activities, and required them to have an escort in order to move throughout the school. 

The lawsuit was filed by Leah Harris and her twin sons, who are African American and Asian American, and Tara Behl and her son, who has a disability. The district and several administrators in Richfield Public Schools are named as defendants in the case. 

The boys found various restrictions humiliating and confusing, said attorney Margaret O’Sullivan Kane, who is representing both families in the lawsuit. 

Richfield Public Schools declined to comment, citing the open litigation. 

According to the lawsuit: All three students were attending the Richfield High School homecoming football game on September 23, 2022 when a shooting took place nearby. Two people were injured. None of the students in the lawsuit were involved in the shooting, but Richfield Public Schools suspended each of them for three days. 

Richfield High School administrators also confiscated the students’ phones daily, and prohibited them from participating in extracurricular activities, including athletics and prom, according to the lawsuit. Outside of passing time, lunch, and recess, the three teenagers could only go to the bathroom if they had an adult escorting them. 

The lawsuit also alleges that Richfield High School administrators attempted to require the students’ parents to enroll their children at Richfield’s alternative high school for at-risk youth, South Education Center Academy (SECA). 

“Richfield has a pattern and practice of disproportionately removing minority and disabled students to SECA for minor behavior infractions whereas Caucasian and non-disabled students are not referred to SECA for similar infractions,” the lawsuit stated. 

(Source: Sahan Journal) 

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