Former Student Awarded $1 Million In Harassment’ Lawsuit Against His High School
A former NY high school student has finally found justice 7 years after filing a lawsuit against his high school following several on-going incidents in which he was excessively harassed and taunted by other students because of his race.
One of the biggest awards ever issued for racial harassment in high school — $1 million — was upheld Monday by a federal appeals panel that said it was fair for a jury to conclude a school district should have done more to stop demeaning, threatening and violent conduct directed at a student.
The decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan left in place the award for Anthony Zeno, a former student at Stissing Mountain High School in Dutchess County.
The harassment began in February 2005, weeks after Zeno transferred from Long Island, with racial slurs and frequent taunts. Over time, his harassment worsened, with a football teammate punching him, a student being restrained as he was about to throw a chair at him and his discovery of bathroom wall graffiti saying, “Zeno will die,” the 2nd Circuit said. Other students filled his locker with garbage and taunted him with references to lynching, including displaying a noose and threatening to take a rope to the nearest tree, the court said.
The appeals court’s opinion noted that Zeno is “dark-skinned and biracial, half-white, half-Latino.” It said he “had been menaced, threatened and taunted” at a school where minorities represented less than 5 percent of the student population.
This just goes to show that it really doesn’t pay to be a bully.
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