Latifah Muhammad
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Florida Student Files Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against School Board

 

A school district in Florida has become the focus of a federal discrimination lawsuit stemming from allegations of racism. A black student filed legal action in Ocala, Fla. earlier this week, claiming to have been accused of cheating after scoring well on an adult skills test, and was reportedly told “you people don’t score that high.”

The incident occurred back in 2010 when Lelia Jackson-Burch and Aretha Thomas were taking  an entrance exam for vocational training occupations.  According to the suit, the women were told by three administrators at Withlachoochee Technical Institute in Citrus County, that their scores were too high, and asked to retake the test.

Jackson-Burch refused, and attempted to leave but was “physically blocked” from driving away from the school, at which point 911 was called. Once deputies arrived, Jackson-Burch allowed them to search her cell phone, despite having no basis to do so. The officer wrote in the police report that no evidence of cheating was found.

Even with confirmation from authorities, school administrators still notified the Florida Department of Education, the Orange County School Board, Jackson-Burch’s school, Columbia College, to inform them that she cheated.  In the aftermath, the Citrus County School Board offered up a $2,500 settlement to both women, which Thomas accepted, but Jackson-Burch turned down.

The suit comes as the state continues to face criticism over the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, and the police chief’s decision to let his killer George Zimmerman walk free. Martin who was killed in late February has become the focus of numerous protests around the country seeking justice in the case.

Florida has also been thrust back in the spotlight for their controversial “stand your ground” law, which allowed for Zimmerman to legally use his firearm to kill the unarmed teen.

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