Students who claim their “petition” to restart slavery was a “joke” filed a lawsuit against the Kansas City school district, alleging their civil rights were violated.
On Friday, Park Hill South High School students filed a lawsuit after they were suspended for 180 days for typing a petition to “Start slavery again” on change.org back in September. The petition ended up reaching social media, garnering national attention in media. Newsweek reports the petition was a joke between a biracial student and a Black student.
Both students and three others who commented on the petition were punished with the 180-day suspension. Eleven people “liked” the petition. Two of the three people who commented are white, and the other student is Asian.
In their lawsuit, they claim their suspension from the school goes against the students’ First Amendment rights, due process and equal protection rights. They are seeking to have their status as students at the school reinstated, have their school records cleaned of the suspension and be freed from being held responsible for damages.
“Fourteen-year-olds sometimes unwisely shoot their mouths off, instantly regretting it but causing no harm, no disruption,” Arthur Benson II, who represents the students, said, Newsweek reports. “But here it was adults who unwisely overreacted, causing the disruptions and they are now trying to strip these boys of their entire ninth grades.”
The school district stands by its actions, saying it took “prompt, decisive action to enforce our policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment and uncivil behavior” it said in a statement.