Teenagers sue unique Catholic highschool for $20M over ‘blackface’ allegations

Two teenagers who had been booted from an unique California Catholic faculty over a “blackface” photograph are suing the college for $20 million — claiming they had been truly sporting pimples therapy masks.

The previous college students, recognized solely as H.H. and A.H., accuse St. Francis Excessive College in Mountain View of overreacting to the “harmless” selfie and “scapegoating” the kids amid racial tensions within the wake of George Floyd’s police custody loss of life, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“This lawsuit is our try to redeem our names and reputations, and to appropriate the document to mirror the reality of what truly occurred,” the boys’ households mentioned in a press release to the Chronicle.

“{A photograph} of this harmless occasion was plucked from obscurity and grossly mischaracterized through the peak of nationwide social unrest,” the assertion mentioned.

Based on the lawsuit, the photograph of the 2 boys and a buddy was taken in 2017 once they had been simply 14 — and was an try by two of the boys to indicate solidarity with the third, who suffered from unhealthy adolescent pimples.

An exterior view of St. Francis High School Friday, March 3, 2017, in Mountain View, Calif.
Based on the lawsuit, the photograph of the 2 boys and a buddy was taken in 2017 once they had been simply 14.
AP Picture/Marcio Jose Sanchez

All three teenagers snapped themselves with pimples masks, the go well with says. The therapy masks, purchased by A.H.’s mom, was mild inexperienced when utilized and turned darkish inexperienced after drying.

The pic remained non-public till a buddy of the third teen — who attends a unique faculty — shared the photograph on Spotify in October 2017.

Nonetheless, it wasn’t till June 2020 that the pic resurfaced and went viral on social media following Floyd’s loss of life on Could 25, which sparked international Black Lives Matter demonstrations. The image was posted on an Instagram meme account created by latest graduates of the college on June. 3, the go well with says.

The next day, St. Francis Principal known as H.H.’s dad and mom, telling them the photograph “isn’t about intent. It’s about optics,” based on the lawsuit.

“Your shoppers, or their mates, are answerable for the posting of the {photograph} on social media and the resultant publicity and unlucky penalties,” faculty officers wrote to a lawyer for the boys’ households, the Chronicle reported.

A statue decorates the entrance at St. Francis High School Friday, March 3, 2017, in Mountain View, Calif.
In 2019, a lady on the faculty then claimed she was being racially bullied, and final 12 months a lacrosse participant was suspended for taunting a Native-American participant from one other workforce by calling him “Squanto.”
AP Picture/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The college gave the boys a selection: resign or be expelled, the go well with says.

St. Francis has been on the middle of racism controversies earlier than, together with faculty baseball gamers caught writing slurs on a locker room whiteboard in 2017.

In 2019, a lady on the faculty then claimed she was being racially bullied, and final 12 months a lacrosse participant was suspended for taunting a Native-American participant from one other workforce by calling him “Squanto.”

The college declined to touch upon these incidents.

St. Francis President Jason Curtiss instructed the Chronicle the college couldn’t touch upon the lawsuit due to the pending litigation and pupil privateness legal guidelines.

“St. Francis Excessive Colleges is dedicated to creating an academic atmosphere the place all college students really feel secure, welcome, and included,” he wrote in an electronic mail.