A former Red Wing High School student claims in a lawsuit that a homecoming event two years ago was racially offensive and illegal.
Quera Pruitt, who is African-American, claims officials in the mostly-White school didn't prevent students from holding a non-sanctioned event "Wigger Day" in 2009, even though such events had occurred in the past.
The suit alleges that school leaders knew of previous Wigger Day events and failed to sufficiently act to stop it, Williams said. Pruitt is suing the district for race discrimination.
"They knew that Wigger Day happened in 2008; we believe they knew Wigger Day happened in 2007; and they did nothing to prevent it from happening in 2009," said Pruitt's lawyer Joshua Williams. "And that's why we believe the school district breached its duty to provide an educational atmosphere free from discrimination."
Williams said the event caused Pruitt emotional damage.
In a statement, district leaders denied creating a racially-hostile environment and said they'll fight the claims in court.
"When (Pruitt) saw her high school essentially turn a blind eye to 'Wigger Day,' she came very close to dropping out of school," Williams said. "She was pretty down, and it's only now that she feels she's in a position psychologically where she can engage and proceed with litigation."
'Wigger' is slang for a white person who dresses and acts in ways associated with African-American culture. The lawsuit claims several dozen students dressed in baggy clothes and flashed gang signs, which Pruitt's lawyer Joshua Williams says caused emotional damage.
Your support matters.
You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.