We discussed a peer racial harassment case that we were taking to trial in late 2009. The case was against the Lenape Valley Regional Board of Education in Sussex County, New Jersey. It involved a multi-racial teen named “E.L.” who was subjected to racial slurs during his 13 months at Lenape Valley Regional High School. E.L.’s parents, Edward and Leeann Lee, claimed that even after the harassment was reported, the school did almost nothing to discipline the harassers or prevent future harassment. After E.L. was expelled from school for fighting with one harasser, his parents sued the school board for money damages, a finding that E.L. was expelled without due process, and a finding that the school board failed to remedy the racial harassment.
Since that time, the plaintiffs and defendants have reached a settlement.
Prior to the settlement, the defendants tried to have the case dismissed through a motion for summary judgment, however, the Court rejected their arguments, and ordered the case to trial.
Hopefully the settlement will allow E.L. and his family to move on with their lives, and E.L. to enroll in a school where he will not face racial harassment. E.L.’s case is far from the only one in which the school administrators failed to protect students from harassment and bullying. With an increase in the ways in which students can hurt one another — through social media websites and Twitter, for instance — it remains a challenge for an experienced school racial harassment attorney to determine whether to hold the school accountable for the students’ behavior. In E.L.’s case, the harassment took place largely on school grounds, but future cases could involve conduct that is entirely online.
If you or someone you know is experiencing racial harassment, sexual harassment, don’t hesitate to contact a seasoned school harassment attorney to help you file a claim against the offenders. No one should have to fear going to work or school every day.