After Multiple Reported Instances Of Discrimination, She Had Enough
One Black girl is coming for the entire Blue Valley School District after she was told her skin was “too dark” to perform during a school dance.
According to The Kansas City Star, Camille Sturdivant graduated from Blue Valley Northwest High School in May 2018, and she was only one of two Black students on the 14-member Dazzlers dance team.
According to a lawsuit filed by Sturdivant in U.S. District court, she suffered racial discrimination and was ostracized from dance team events out of retaliation for complaints she made in regards to her race.
It was in 2017 that the dance team choreographer Kevin Murakami allegedly made remarks about Sturdivant’s skin being too dark. He said it would distract the audience from looking at the other dancers.
“Murakami also told Sturdivant that her skin color clashed with the color of the costumes,” the suit said.
Then in 2018, more pasty shenanigans allegedly went down when the dance team’s coach, Carley Fine, was fired for racial comments she made about Sturdivant, according to the lawsuit.
Shortly before Sturdivant’s graduation, someone gave her the coach’s phone to play music for the dance team. According to the suit, Sturdivant saw messages between Fine and Murakami talking about how she recently won a spot on the Golden Girls dance team at the University of Missouri for the next year.
The choreographer wrote, “THAT DOESN’T”T MAKE SENSE. I’m so mad.”
The coach responded, “It actually makes my stomach hurt.” She then added, “Bc she’s (expletive) black. I hate that.”
Sturdivant was sickened by the beige rage, and she showed the messages to her parents, according to the suit. They then showed the messages to the school principle.
The coach was fired the next day, and she wasn’t allowed to be on school property or have contact with Sturdivant or any other members of the dance team.
However, according to the suit, the former coach was seen at the school and with members of the dance squad multiple times afterwards.
Sturdivant’s family also said that a team banquet paid for by the parents was canceled. However, they later learned that Fine and the other dancers, except Sturdivant, organized a dinner on the Plaza…
On the same date as the canceled banquet.
During the final dance performance of the school year, all of the team members, except Sturdivant and the other Black teammate, rocked ribbons on their costumes with the initials CL for Carley Fine, according to the suit. Sturdivant and the other Black student were also excluded from the team photos taken after the event, which was on school property.
Now, Sturdivant’s lawsuit names the district, school principal Amy Pressly, Fine and Katie Porter, the parent of another dancer and a school district teacher, as the defendants.
The Blue Valley district released the following statement regarding the lawsuit:
“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 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. As stated in the Complaint, on May 1, 2018, Mrs. Sturdivant showed Dr. Pressly the text message between Mr. Murakami and Ms. Fine. Ms. Fine’s employment with the District was separated the following day on May 2, 2018.”
We’ll find out if that same energy works in court.
The damages being sought by Sturdivant are unspecified.