A black student in Kansas claims she was told her skin was “too dark” to perform with the dance team at her high school, according to a lawsuit.
Camille Sturdivant took legal action last month against the Blue Valley School District alleging racial discrimination, the Kansas City Star reported.
Sturdivant graduated in May 2018 from Blue Valley Northwest High School, where she claims she was ostracized as one of two black students on the dance team.
The suit alleges the team’s choreographer, Kevin Murakami, told Sturdivant she was too dark and “the audience would look at her and not the other dancers.”
“Murakami also told Sturdivant that her skin color clashed with the color of the costumes,” the suit said.
Shortly before graduation, Sturdivant alleges she discovered disturbing text messages about her when she used coach Carley Fine’s phone to play music.
The messages reportedly showed Fine and Murakami questioning the offer she received to join the University of Missouri’s dance team.
“THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. I’m so mad,” Murakami wrote, according to the suit.
“It actually makes my stomach hurt,” Fine reportedly replied. “[Because] she’s f–king black. I hate that.”
The school district released a statement Wednesday saying the texts were reported to administrators and the following day Fine left her position.
“Respectful and meaningful relationships between staff and students are at the heart of Blue Valley’s culture,” school officials said. “Discrimination of any kind has no place here. The District expects staff to treat all students with respect at all times, and any report that this expectation has not been fulfilled is taken very seriously.”
Sturdivant is seeking unspecified damages, the Kansas City Star reported.