NIXING THE N-WORD: STUDENT FILES CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT AGAINST SCHOOL BOARD AND CLASSMATES
Montreal, November 7, 2013 --- An English-speaking Black male in his thirties has filed civil rights complaints against the Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board and three classmates for repeatedly exposing him to racist jokes and slurs in front of other students and for depriving him of a racism-free learning environment.
Douglas (not his real name) waited for more than a year to be able to be registered in an English-language vocational program, offered through the Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board. In September 2012, within days of starting the program, he was the victim of much racial discrimination and harassment which was perpetrated by three of his White classmates. These three classmates would, for instance, make “jokes” in front of other students which employed the use of the “N” word, implied that DC is a monkey, and asserted the supremacy of the White race. The harassment occurred over a period of approximately several weeks.
One day, after a humiliating experience, DC notified his course instructor of racism he encountered, but no action was taken. Instead of properly sanctioning the students involved, the school suspended DC based on false claims of issuing death threats. The police was called but no charge was laid against DC; however, he was suspended and lost an entire year of school.
In light of how racial discrimination and harassment ruined his studies, damaged his well-being and caused him costly delays in his training and job search, DC has mandated CRARR to assist him in his complaint against the school board with the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission. Mediation took place last summer and was unsuccessful; the case now goes to the investigation. He is seeking damages for lost opportunity and civil rights violations, as well as the mandatory adoption by the School Board of an antiracist policy and procedure.
He also mandated CRARR to file other complaints against each of the three students who created the racially poisoned learning environment. He is seeking $10,000 in damages from each classmate.
“I can't believe that in this day and age, people can still openly use the N-word in class and think that they can get away with it”, said Douglas, who enjoyed support from several classmates for his case. “As a unilingual English-speaking Black male, this racist experience has created substantial damage to my educational and employment prospects”, he added.
The Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board has been in the past involved in several high profile civil rights litigation cases, notably that of the Filipino-Canadian boy who was the target of racially biased comments for eating with a spoon.