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Three Black Kids Get $450,000 In Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

By Victor Trammell

Three black youths and their parents have been awarded at total of $450,000, which was paid in a settlement reached by the University Place School District in the Tacoma, Washington area.

According to The News Tribune (Tacoma’s daily newspaper), former Curtis Senior High School students Jamal Welch, Elijah West, and Tyrell Wells reached a monetary agreement with their former school district. The situation stemmed from a 2015 lawsuit, which accused the school and school district of racial discrimination.

Courts documents stated that the three young black males complained to their parents, then school authorities about the race-based harassment they endured over a lengthy amount of time. However, nothing was ever done about it, according to the allegations in the 2015 lawsuit.

Welch, West, and Wells were regularly called racial slurs and had to concentrate on “surviving each and every school day without having a mental or emotional reaction.”

“Former University Place Superintendent Patti Banks (who retired in 2016) told The News Tribune in 2015 that the school district placed [a teacher in question] on leave while it investigated the incident, along with the allegations that her grading practices were discriminatory,” wrote Debbie Caffazzo, a reporter for The News Tribune.

Caffazzo’s report on this case was published by The News Tribune late last week. “But Banks said in 2015 that no evidence of discrimination in grading was uncovered,” she continued.

There were some questionable stipulations worded in the agreement, which were requested by lawyers for the school district. One of the conditions of the settlement was that no member of the school district, the young men, or their families could comment on the case to any news media source.

Also, another condition of the settlement was that the University Place School District gained the ability to deny many of the allegations in the lawsuit filed on behalf of the black families.

Some independent, black-owned news sources have questioned the size of the monetary agreement reached in this case and have insinuated that the settlement amount is too low.

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