A Racist Group Chat Got These Chicago Teens Expelled. Now They’re Suing Their School.
Two Chicago high school seniors are suing their school after administrators expelled them for engaging in a racist group chat earlier this year.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, the white teenagers claimed they were “used as scapegoats” by school officials after it was discovered that they, along with 32 other girls, were involved in a racially insensitive text conversation. Now, they’ve filed a lawsuit accusing administrators of invading their privacy and failing to execute proper procedure to kick them out of school.
The chat started after the group of teens met up for a religious retreat where they were told anything they said would be “strictly confidential,” the lawsuit filed by the girls’ fathers in Cook County Circuit Court Monday showed.
In the midst of a planned Black Lives Matter rally following the shooting of 25-year-old Joshua Beal by an off-duty Chicago cop in November, a member of the group chat reportedly texted a tweet warning others that the protesters would bring gang members to murder white residents, the suit stated. The potential for a racially charged clash between BLM and Blue Lives Matter prompted the school to close on Nov. 11.
Screenshots of the ensuing conversation between the girls revealed a message that read “I F–cking Hate N–ggers,” with other girls agreeing. The girls admitted to making racially insensitive comments in the group chat but asserted that the “I F-cking Hate N—ers,” text was doctored by another member of the group.
The Chicago Sun Times reported that five students who engaged in the offensive conversation were either suspended or expelled from the school, including the two plaintiffs who were kicked out “without any formal disciplinary process,” the suit stated.
“Disciplinary action is being taken,” read a statement issued by Marist High School after the racist messages were circulated on social media. “As a school community, we continually work so that each student feels welcome, valued and safe.”
The students’ lawsuit claims that they were “labeled as racists and used as scapegoats by Marist to respond to an array of social media criticisms and media pressure,” adding that their names and identities were revealed in comments on the school’s social media posts.
They went on to cite an “invasion of privacy” on the school’s behalf and asserted that publishing their names online could potentially jeopardize their chances of getting into college.
Moreover, the girls accused school officials of singling them out of the 32 other teens who used similarly offensive language. CBS Chicago reported that an attorney for the girls also claimed that an African-American student had advocated for the killing of white people but was only counseled by school administrators instead of being expelled like his clients.
The high school has yet to comment on the lawsuit, which named both the school principal and school dean of discipline as defendants.
According to the news site, the girls are asking to be compensated $65,000 per person for tuition and school costs. They also are seeking over $1 million for invasion of privacy.