Lawsuit Alleges Officials Did Little to Prevent Racism Against Sumner Co. Student -- Mikayla Lewis
Updated: Tuesday, August 19 2014, 06:24 PM CDT
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Shannon Rice and her family are suing the Sumner County Board of Education for allegedly failing to protect her against racially motivated harassment and bullying. It's one of three lawsuits against the school district.
The 16-year-old began playing basketball in elementary school.
Shannon Rice says, " I can just get on the court and forget about everything."
She isn't forgetting what happened on and off the court in 2012-2013 with her high school basketball teammates at Hendersonville High School.
Shannon Rice says, "They would tell me that the moves that I was doing, are black girl moves. They would tell me stop doing them, don't shoot. They would call me the "N" word all the time."
Dr. Wanda Rice says hers daughter's coaches even chimed in. According to the lawsuit filed on Tuesday, an assistant coach stated: " Black people should wear socks to the beach because of how their toes look."
Dr. Rice says she spoke with coaches and school about the physical and verbal abuse.
Dr. Rice says, " The response that I got was our program isn't like that. I promise you. Our program isn't like that."
Last winter, Dr. Rice says she started homeschooling her sophomore after she was dismissed from the team. The principal and coach allegedly said her daughter lacked "spirit and leadership."
The Rices' attorney, Roland Mumford says the school district needs to be proactive.
Roland Mumford, attorney says, "Now we have a coach that has resigned within 60 days of the first lawsuit and then the asst. coach has been moved to Portland which i don't believe is a coincidence. "
The school board attorney, Todd Presnell, released this statement:
" The idea that these
three separate claims are a pattern ignores the
reality of the facts. We
are dealing with two different schools with
administrations and three different families over two different
school years. Our School
Board has anti-discrimination policies that we
enforce strictly and
when claims arise we investigate thoroughly and
appropriate action is
taken when necessary. We deny these allegations and
look forward to
defending each of them individually in court."
Follow Mikayla Lewis on Twitter @MikaylaFox17.