Student and teacher suing CCSD

Updated: Apr. 2, 2015 at 5:47 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District is now facing two lawsuits from a former teacher and former student at Baptist Hill Middle-High School.

The teacher, Carlos Fernandez, taught at the school for 17 years before leaving, and the student is unnamed because she's a minor.

"You should feel like an equal and be treated as an equal," Larry Kobrovsky, the attorney on the suits said. "That didn't happen."

Fernandez says he was "harassed" and treated differently because he's Hispanic and Cuban and not black like most of the school and was eventually "demoted" to a non-core class because he complained.

The student's suit says she faced racial and sexual slurs and felt unsafe and scared as white student at the school. The suit says the harassment was so bad, she had to stay at home.

In both cases, the suits says there were no investigations or punishments to students because of race.

"The public schools should be open to everybody," Kobrovsky said. "No matter what your background is, if everybody in the school looks like you or nobody in the school looks like you."

When reached for a comment, the school district said it doesn't discuss pending litigation. The district also started looking for a new diversity consultant but so far that position hasn't been filled.

"It's a tragedy to be losing good teachers from our public schools," Kobrovsky said. "No student should be forced to dropout and lose an education because they just can't handle it anymore."

Both suits say the school had an unwritten rule where black men and women came first, and white men and women came second.

"Nobody should be singled out based on race or gender," Kobrovsky said. "That's why we brought these suits."

Kobrovsky is also representing two other lawsuits from a teacher and student at the school that were filed last year with similar complaints. Those cases are pending. He says it could be a year before these new cases go before a jury.

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