Court rules Texas school district isn't liable in lawsuit over Jew-Nazi role-playing lesson

Three-judge panel with the 5th Circuit court affirms previous ruling that the Perryton Independent School District is not liable for injuries suffered by Andrew Yara during May 2012 lesson.
By Evan Bleier  |  April 2, 2014 at 4:08 PM
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A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of a Texas school district that was being sued after a student was injured while engaging in a lesson about the Holocaust, in which World History students were made to play "Jews" while the rest of the students and faculty at the school bullied them as though they were Nazis.

The 5th Circuit court in New Orleans affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the Perryton Independent School District is not liable for the injuries Andrew Yara suffered in the May 2012 incident.

In the suit, Yara claimed students who were given red ribbons "must do everything school faculty or other students tell them to, including picking up other students' trash, being taken outside and sprayed with water hoses, bear-crawling across the hot track, carrying other students' books, and even carrying other students.”

According to Yara’s complaint, the exercise was mandatory for World History Class students and students who did not do what they were told would “receive a failing grade."

During “Red Ribbon Day,” Yara claimed he was subjected to a “process that was designed to expose him to unwarranted shame, indignity, and virtually certain injury.”

The lawsuit, which was seeking compensation for medical expenses, mental and emotional anguish and attorneys’ fees, claimed Yara was injured when another student jumped on his back.

The court ultimately upheld the finding that there was no evidence the school district was the "moving force" behind the alleged violations that occurred on Red Ribbon Day.

"Further, the board could not have made a deliberate choice to disregard constitutional violations stemming from its failure to train or supervise because no violation had occurred in the first two years of the program," the opinion reads. "Despite the Yaras' attempts to explain the potentially harmful effects of what they call an unsound pedagogy, it is undisputed that no Perryton High School student ever previously suffered physical harm as a result of Red Ribbon Day events."

[Courthouse News] [Amarillo Globe News]

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