A federal appeals court has upheld a $1 million jury award against a small New York state school district found to be deliberately indifferent to persistent racial harassment of a high school student by his peers.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, in New York City, ruled unanimously Dec. 1 in favor of the family of Anthony Zeno, who is half-white and half-Latino and is described in court papers as “dark-skinned.”
Mr. Zeno was 16 when his family moved in 2005 to Pine Plains. At Stissing Mountain High School, where racial minorities made up less than 5 percent of student enrollment, Mr. Zeno received threats, including references to lynching.
School officials suspended offenders in some cases.
Mr. Zeno sued the district, alleging race discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The 1,100-student Pine Plains Central district said it responded reasonably to each reported incident and didn’t know its responses were inadequate or ineffective.
A version of this article appeared in the December 12, 2012 edition of Education Week as Court Rules for Student In Harassment Case