BRENTWOOD high school is made up mostly of students who are Hispanic and black. Giovanni Micheli is white, and he says he was targeted for being white. He claims he was punched, hit with a chair, and repeatedly called “cracker” and “white boy.” Meanwhile, administrators did nothing to protect him.
Giovanni Micheli decided to sue. His trial started on Monday. His lawyer told the federal court that his client was singled out as a “minority” in Brentwood High School and then told by school officials, most of them white, to either “project more self-confidence” in order to stem the beating and berating — or leave.
Micheli and his parents decided to leave, but school officials turned down the family’s request to have him moved to another district. Micheli and his parents were told, “If we do that for him, we would have to do that for all the white children.”
An attorney for the school district said Micheli was never able to give school employees enough information about his assailants. In describing one attack, Micheli told supervisors his tormentors were slender and black, attorney Jack Shields said.
The attorney said school brass did everything they could to help Micheli acclimate to his surroundings, including placing him in clubs. But the measures had little impact — and Micheli used a racial epithet during one confrontation with black students, Shields alleged.
Finally, staffers ordered that he leave campus as a safety precaution.
He and his parents want reimbursement for his parochial school tuition.
“Giovanni was a minority because he was Caucasian,” attorney Wayne Schaefer said in his opening statement. “This case is about discrimination against a minority student . . . Our claim is that there was deliberate indifference because he was a Caucasian student complaining in a district where Caucasians are a minority.”
After his parents complained, administrators eventually removed Micheli from the campus in favor of home tutoring, according to Schaefer.
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