The St. Paul Public School District and Timothy Olmsted, 6th grade teacher at the Heights Community School in St. Paul, Minnesota, are being sued by his students’ families. Olmsted, who resigned after he was put on paid leave by the St. Paul Public School District, is being sued after students reported Olmsted’s discrimination against African-American students.
The Star Tribune reports that the resignation didn’t satisfy parents, who filed a lawsuit that is now being moved to federal courts. The suit alleges that Olmsted verbally and physically discriminated against their children and that the school district failed to protect them.
The lawsuit states Olmsted made derogatory statements, calling students “fat, black and stupid” and saying, “You will never amount to anything.”
Latasha Tolbert’s daughter was a student in Olmsted’s class. Tolbert’s inquiries about Olmsted began after her daughter explained the layout of the classroom, some students sat in the back of the room while others had their desks facing the wall. All of these students were black, her daughter said. Sixth grade, African-American student, Aylecia Ingram-Jones said she was forced to sit in the back solely because of the color of her skin.
This is not the first incident Olmsted is involved in. In the past, Olmsted was suspended without pay for five days after he gave a sixth-grader “an offensive and inappropriate birthday card containing sexual innuendo” and told her to read it to the class. That same year, he was disciplined for requiring sixth-grade students to read an inappropriate novel, the suit said.
School district representatives denied the allegations of racial discrimination, and said Tolbert’s complaints were taken into consideration. Although the lawsuit has been moved to the federal courts, the families’ lawyer, Meg Kane does not expect the case to go to trial for at least another year.
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