A former Red Wing High School student who claims a Homecoming event was emotionally painful, had good reason to wait two years to sue for race discrimination, her lawyer said.
Former student Quera Pruitt, who is African-American, claims officials in the mostly-white school didn’t prevent students from holding a non-sanctioned event called “Wigger Day” in 2009, even though such events had previously occurred. (Read the lawsuit here)
‘Wigger’ is a play on a racial slur, and is slang for a white person who dresses and acts in stereotypical ways associated with African-American culture. For example, Pruitt claims in the lawsuit that white students dressed in baggy clothes and flashed gang signs.
But why wait two years to file suit?
For one, lawyer Joshua Williams said, Pruitt suffered from depression as a result of the event.
“She was pretty down, and it’s only now that she feels she’s in a position psychologically where she can engage and proceed with litigation,” he said.
But even more important, Williams said, is that Pruitt did not receive a finding from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights until June 3. That finding found ‘probable cause’ that unfair discrimination occurred.
“Now that we also have a probable cause determination, we believe that bolsters our case. We’re really in a good position to move forward,” Williams said.
District leaders are not granting interviews to the media on the matter. Instead, they’ve released a statement, which reads:
“Independent School District #256, Red Wing, Minnesota has been and continues to be committed to providing an education to its students that is free from discrimination and harassment based upon race or otherwise. The district denies the allegations that it has created a racially hostile environment and looks forward to meeting these allegations in court. Since this concerns pending litigation, the district has no further comment at this time.”
According to state figures, Red Wing High School had an enrollment of 879 during the 2009-2010 school year. Of those, 26 students (3 percent) were African-American and 779 (89 percent were white.