A Black teenager dancer is suing her dance coach and others, claiming that she couldn’t perform because her skin was too dark, according to BuzzFeed News.
her lawsuit against Blue Valley Schools in Overland Park, Kansas, the high school
principal, former dance coach and the parent of a former teammate, Camille
Sturdivant said that she was left out of a dance performance and the reason was
because she’s Black.
said that the incident, which took place when she was a senior at Blue Valley
Northwest High School in 2017, occurred in July of that year. She said that her
dance team’s choreographer told her she was “too dark” to do the contemporary
dance routine because her skin would conflict with the costumes, per BuzzFeed.
of Missouri freshman alleges that when she spoke up about the issue, she
“Sturdivant was excluded from school-sponsored activities and was denied the full panoply of educational benefits afforded other similarly situated members of the Dazzlers because of her race, African-American,” according to the complaint obtained by BuzzFeed.
According to the lawsuit, her parents met with the school’s
principal and was told that it was the coach, Carle Fine’s, decision on who
would perform. Sturdivant said that she remained on the dance team and eventually
got accepted onto the University of Missouri’s Golden Girls dance team.
In her suit, she said that she noticed a text message from
Fine that said that the reason she was able to get a spot on the team was ““[because]
she’s fu***ng Black. I hate that.”
Fine was reportedly fired after Sturdivant’s parents showed the message to the school’s principal, writes the Kansas City Star.
“Respectful and meaningful
relationships between staff and students are at the heart of Blue Valley’s
culture. Discrimination of any kind has no place here,” the school
district told the Star. “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.”