Preusser v. Taconic Hills Central School Dist.
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Judge Mae D'Agostino
Parents, on behalf of their minor son, sued Taconic Hills Central School District claiming that it violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. They contended their son was subjected to numerous instances of racially-related name calling and taunted consistently throughout the third and fifth grade. Plaintiffs further claimed that the district's unreasonable delay in responding to the harassment, lack of diversity/anti-harassment programs, and failure to investigate was evidence of deliberate indifference. Given the totality of circumstances and viewing the evidence most favorably to plaintiffs, the court found the boy suffered less than five specific instances of racially related name-calling over three years. It stated that it did not condone these instances, nor did it intend to minimize their effects, but no reasonable juror could conclude that the boy's school environment was permeated with severe racial hostility. The court granted the district summary judgment, ruling plaintiffs could not sustain claim for a hostile education environment based upon episodic teasing over a three year period of time. Also, plaintiffs' claim was fatally flawed because they neither showed nor alleged their son suffered from a deprivation of educational opportunities.