Conn. town to pay $100K after Kenrick Lamar video shown in class

Local News

The student’s family said he suffered significant emotional distress after being shown the video, which depicted “shockingly violent” scenes about police officers.

Amy Harris

A Connecticut town agreed to a $100,000 settlement in a lawsuit that claimed an eighth grader, whose father was a police officer, suffered emotional damage after a teacher showed his class a video that featured Kendrick Lamar and included “shockingly violent” scenes about police.

The case was filed in 2022 and listed the town of Vernon, Connecticut, its board of education, and the teacher who showed the video as defendants. The lawsuit, filed by the student’s parents on his behalf, said the student suffered psychological distress, including PTSD, and transferred to another school after seeing the video.

The town council approved the settlement last week, and the Vernon’s Board of Education approved the move unanimously Monday.

Neither body discussed the measure before it was passed, but Town Administrator Michael Purcaro told the CT Postthat the settlement was “reached through negotiation” and approved on the “advice of counsel.”

Teacher who showed Lamar video had shown inappropriate videos before, suit says

The incident happened in February of 2020 and involved a Vernon Center Middle School student who has a diagnosed learning disorder and was in a specialized school program, according to the lawsuit. Another lawsuit concerning the student’s special education is also being settled by the $100,000 sum, but is not publicly available. 

The teacher of an eighth grade social studies class that the student was in reportedly showed the class an episode of a documentary titled “Songs that Shook America,” which featured Lamar’s song “Alright,” according to court documents.

“The video depicted police officers as murderers and contained other shockingly violent scenes and controversial statements about police officers,” the lawsuit reads.

The music video for “Alright” shows someone in the role of an officer firing a gun in Lamar’s direction. Another scene depicts an officer making a finger gun and “firing” at Lamar, who then falls from the top of a light pole, bleeding.

The teacher knew that the student’s father was a police officer before showing the class the video, according to the lawsuit. He had also been disciplined two previous times for showing videos that were inconsistent with school guidelines.

An assistant superintendent with Vernon Public Schools found that the teacher had violated Vernon’s Board of Education policy and state professional standards for teachers by showing the video depicting Lamar, the lawsuit said.

After the students’ parents reported the video to school administration, a mutual agreement was made that the student would be removed from the teacher’s class and the teacher would not contact the student.

But in March of that year, the teacher messaged the student over Google Classroom to “criticize the student’s lack of writing skills and effort on an assignment in a demeaning manner,” the lawsuit reads.

Student’s peers “disassociated” with him, court documents say

According to the lawsuit, the student dealt with PTSD, anxiety, depression, shock, confusion, sadness, and social withdrawal, among other psychological injuries, because of the 45-minute-long video. These have manifested into physical symptoms like nausea and headaches, the complaint adds.

The student also experienced “personal embarrassment” because he was the son of a police officer, and his classmates and friends “disassociated” with him, the suit says.

As a result, the student had to transfer schools and receive psychological counseling.

The $100,000 sum will take care of both lawsuits against Vernon’s Board of Education brought against the student’s family, Superintendent Joseph Macary told the CT Post. The money is meant to reimburse the family for the tuition they paid when transferring the student to another school.

#Conn #town #pay #100K #Kenrick #Lamar #video #shown #class

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *