A student from a high school in Kansas is suing her school district discrimination and retaliation after they told her that she was "too dark," to perform with the school's dance team.
Camille Sturdivant was a member of the 14-person "Dazzlers" dance team at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park before she graduated in May. There was only one other Black student on the team at the time.
According to the lawsuit filed Dec. 5 in the United States District Court in Kansas City, Kansas, the team's choreographer, Carley Fine, allegedly told her that "her skin was too dark and the audience would look at her and not the other dancers."
The suit also states that the choreographer also told her that her skin color "clashed with the color of the costumes."
Fine allowed Sturdivant to continue to dance on the team but that she was "dismissive" of her. Sturdivant also alleges that in 2017, while she was using Fine's cell phone to play music for the dance team, she saw text messages between the coach and Mr. Murakami, expressing her outrage that Sturdivant has received an acceptance letter from the University of Missouri and won a spot on the school's "Golden Girls" dance team.
"THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. I'm so mad," it is reported that she wrote.
"It actually makes my stomach hurt," adding "Bc she's f*cking black. I hate that."
ABC News reports that Sturdivant's parents showed the text message exchange to the school principal and that Fine was fired the following day. Fine was also informed that she could not be on school property nor have contact with Sturdivant or the other dancers. An agreement that she reportedly did not stick to.
The lawsuit names A school parent, Katie Porter, Fine, the school's principal, Amy Murphy Pressly Pressly and the Blue Valley Unified School District as defendants.
Sturdivant is requesting a jury trial and is seeking an unspecified amount in "actual damages, compensatory and punitive damages."
The school district ABC News the following statement in response to 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."