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Students suing Effingham school district

SPRINGFIELD — The Effingham County school district is being sued by students who say they were barred from wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts to school events while their white peers regularly wear shirts printed with Confederate flags.

According to news reports, the lawsuit was filed last week in U.S. District Court against school administrators in Effingham County. The suit states the district’s unfair application of its dress code is part of a broader pattern of discrimination and “deliberate indifference to acts of racial animosity” that violate the civil rights of Black students.

School administrators in Effingham County have cited a districtwide policy prohibiting clothing that “may contribute to disruption,” the lawsuit says, to keep students from wearing Black Lives Matter shirts.

Georgia Public Broadcasting first reported the filing of the suit.

In the civil complaint document obtained by GPB, the suit alleges “two students scrawling racial epithet across lockers in the baseball locker room; a noose being hung in the football locker room; students wearing Confederate flag attire; a white student wearing a full Hitler costume during spirit week after obtaining prior approval from a teacher; white students’ open use of racial slurs including ‘n-----’; overtly racist remarks by a white teacher and open and notorious display of Confederate flags in the building.”

According to the complaint, one of the student plaintiffs was denied entry to a high school football game because she wore a Black Lives Matter shirt, the lawsuit said. It alleges that white students in the school district regularly wear shirts printed with Confederate flags.

Effingham County School Superintendent Dr. Yancy Ford said in a statement to news outlets that the district had not yet been served with the lawsuit. He said any response to its claims would be made in court.

The lawsuit lists as plaintiffs three unnamed Black teenagers who attend high school in Effingham County. The complaint was filed by the mother of one of the teens acting as their attorney.