Effingham parents file Civil Rights lawsuit against school district

By Alyssa Jackson

Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 11:24 PM EST

EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Three Effingham Co. students are taking the district to federal court for claims of civil rights violations.

WTOC was first to tell you about it on Monday. The parents of those students say they want to put an end to open racism.

It’s all detailed in a 12-page Civil Rights lawsuit involving students at Effingham County High School and Effingham College and Career Academy.

It states: “I hate n* in the baseball locker room...a student wearing an Adolph Hitler costume...the schools forbidding Black lives matter while permitting the confederate flag”.

That’s just some of it. WTOC called both parents on Wednesday who since filing say they’ve heard more disturbing stories.

“Kids were laughing and re-enacting George Floyd’s death talking about...you can breathe, you can breathe?” said Tauretta McCray, a parent who filed the lawsuit.

“Years before my son, there was a noose hanging in the football locker room,” said Lakeisha Hamilton, another parent who filed the lawsuit. “If you leave it to them, everything is still under investigation.”

It’s not that the school hasn’t talked to them about some of the complaints. For them, it’s that nothing is being done about it.

Hamilton said: “They gave me a long song and dance about how much they love the children and how much they love my son. How they will punish all kids equally and during that meeting, I was pointing out how it wasn’t consistent and they were very cordial, but I felt it was just a default meeting meant to pacify me.”

The sign with a Confederate flag at the high school is the same one the district refused to remove 8 years ago.

And Lakeisha Hamilton said her kid was called a racial slur to his face.

“Mom, they always dropping the ‘n’ word.”

The other mom, Tauretta McCray, said a teacher went as far as correcting her daughter for using the word “retarded” by saying she wouldn’t want to be called the n* word and using the word. In an email exchange, the teacher didn’t confirm or deny saying it.

The parents said they can’t imagine what other Black kids have gone through.

“If you’re willing to allow this to happen to my kid whose parent is active, present and willing to come at any given time...what are you doing for kids who aren’t straight ‘A’ students? Not in the top 10 percent of their class...who’s not a stellar athlete.”

The culture of white supremacy and blatant racism Hamilton and McCray are accusing the district of they say has traumatized their kids.

McCray said: “Coming home everyday saying she don’t want to go to school no more...bawling...I would literally have to build her back up for her to go to school the next day.”

Hamilton has also filed a complaint with the United States Department of Education.

The parents said they want an investigation, and a written standard for what is and isn’t acceptable.

WTOC did reach out to the school district on Monday when we first learned about the lawsuit. No one would go on camera, but the district did release a statement saying , “Neither the School District nor other named defendants have been served with the lawsuit at this time. Once we have been served, a response to the allegations will be filed in accordance with the rules and procedures of the court.”

You can find the full lawsuit under this story.

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