Black student was told her skin was 'too dark' to take part in dance routine, lawsuit claims
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A black American high-school student was told her skin was “too dark” to take part in a dance and “clashed with the color of the costumes”, a lawsuit claims.
Camille Sturdivant says choreographer Kevin Murakami made the comments about her skin colour in 2017 and claims she was ostracized for complaining about how she was being treated.
Photo: University of Missouri Golden Girls/Facebook
The dancer, one of two black girls in the Dazzlers dance team, graduated in May 2018 and is now suing the Blue Valley School District in Kansas for racial discrimination.
According to the lawsuit, the groups dance coach, Carley Fine, also made racial comments about Sturdivant in text messages between her and Murakami.
The Kansas City Star, who have allegedly seen the lawsuit, quote the texts.
Kevin Murakami: “THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. I’m so mad”
Catley Fine: “It actually makes my stomach hurt.”
Fine then added: “Bc she’s (expletive) black. I hate that.”
Sturdivant won a spot on the Golden Girls dance team at the University of Missouri and it is believed the text messages are discussing this news.
Ms Fine was fired by the school after the texts were exposed, she was told told not to contact any members of the Dazzlers team or step onto school property but Sturdivant says the coach didn’t conform with these restrictions.
After Fine was fired Sturdivant was told that a team banquet had been cancelled only to later discover members of the dance team along with Fine had met for dinner on the same night and at the same venue the ‘cancelled’ banquet was being held, the lawsuit states.
The suit also claims that at the schools final dance before students graduated, all members of the Dazzlers - apart from Sturdivant and the other black dancer - wore ribbons bearing the initials CL for Carley Fine.Shockingly, they were then the only two dancers excluded from team photos taken afterwards - this took place on school property.
The Blue Valley district issued 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.”