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BABCOCK RANCH | New lawsuit names Babcock Neighborhood Schools for alleged racial mistreatment

Posted at 11:10 PM, Oct 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-19 07:18:18-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — The North Law Firm is filing 3 lawsuits on behalf of current and former students at Babcock Neighborhood Schools.

Grace Clay and her parents met with Fox 4 on September 25, recounting her experience on the school's volleyball team.

Since this story broke, two other families have come forward, becoming the firm's clients.

"It's things ranging from students being called monkeys and cotton pickers to white students having apps on their phones, that actually have the sounds of gunshots, and slave whips, directing those sounds at other Black students," lawyer, Joseph North said.

Each lawsuit demands at least $50,000 in damages.

"What we're seeking on behalf of these families is in great excess of that number," Joseph North said.

The comments Clay first shared with us were made in this video while volleyball teammates were traveling.

But in an email, Babcock Neighborhood School principal Amanda Sanford wrote the video was quote, "determined to not be racially discriminatory," while nothing the language in the video was inappropriate.

In our first report, the school claimed it quotes, "immediately took action when these matters were reported".

For Joe North, Joseph North, and these families, that action hasn't been enough.

"In this case, we have hard evidence in terms of videos and emails, substantiating that these things happened," Joe North said.

Fox asked to see any new proof he may have.

"I do have a screenshot that was sent from a white student to

Grace and it was a photo of a baby monkey. The message on it was 'This is you'," Joe North said.

Photo allegedly sent to Grace Clay from student at Babcock

In legal terms, the lawsuits allege "negligent supervision of students". For these families, they say, the damage has gone much further.

"These parents really want accountability. That starts with some of the staff, teachers, and administrators being let go," Joe North said.

Wednesday night, the school told only Fox 4 that it had released an eight-point plan to "foster an atmosphere of inclusivity, respect, and understanding in the school".

The school's leaders say it has tried to meet with the NAACP and Babcock Diversity Representatives but has not been successful.

NAACP leaders say it has not been able to successfully schedule a meeting with the school's executive director, Shannon Treece.