The mother of a Black 12-year-old boy is seeking damages from a Southern California school district after her son's teacher went on a half-hour tirade laced with racism and profanity. Katura Stokes filed a damage claim—typically a precursor to a lawsuit, per the AP—on Thursday on behalf of her son against the Palmdale School District over comments made by a science instructor after a Zoom session with her son in January, the Orange County Register reports. The sixth grader attends Palmdale's Desert Willow Fine Arts, Science, and Technology Magnet Academy, whose student body is about 13% African American. In her complaint, Stokes said her son had struggled to complete class assignments using the district's online platform for distance learning and that she, her son, and science teacher Kimberly Newman had a Zoom session on Jan. 20 to work out these problems with the platform.
But after their session the teacher, apparently unaware she hadn't exited the meeting, went on a rant—recorded by Stokes—lasting more than 30 minutes in which she seems to complain to her husband. "She's answered her phone for the first time the entire year," the teacher says of Stokes, per video seen by the Register. "I mean these parents, that's what kind of [pieces] of s--- they are," Newman says, adding: "Black. He's Black. They're a Black family." She continues, "Your son has learned to lie to everybody and make excuses. You've taught him to make excuses that nothing is his fault. This is what Black people do." Newman was placed on administrative leave and resigned within days. "Ms. Stokes reached out for help—and, in return, she discovered that her son was being treated unfairly because of the color of his skin," an attorney representing Stokes says. The video "clearly shows that unequal educational experiences for minority students exist."
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