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BABCOCK RANCH | Protest at Babcock High over racial allegations

Law firm says more lawsuits are expected next week over claims of racially-insensitive language from students
Posted at 6:49 PM, Oct 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-19 18:49:19-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — Members of the Lee County NAACP, the Charlotte County NAACP, Babcock's Diversity Group, Joe North Law, and people who live at Babcock Range were all part of Thursday's protest.

These people are pushing for a culture change inside of the school after claims of racial abuse and harassment. They want to see the school's executive director and the school's principal fired for "allowing this culture" at the school.

"This is 2023, I could see it if it were 1957," Connie Payne, president of the Charlotte County NAACP said.

Grace Clay, a Babcock High student, told only Fox 4 on September 25 about the treatment she says she endured while on the school's volleyball team.

"Students should be taught what harassment and bullying is, how they should stop it in its tracks, and how they should report it," Nick VanAtter, with Babcock's Diversity Group said.

The videoGrace Clay first shared with us happened while volleyball teammates were traveling.

In a later email, Babcock's principal wrote the video's language was inappropriate but "determined to not be racially discriminatory."

The school claimed it quote "immediately took action when these matters were reported."

Joe and Joseph North are the two lawyers representing three families, the Clays included. They said they expect two clients more to file suit in the next week.

"They've [his clients] been called the 'n' word, they've been called the Black one, they've been called cotton picker, and they've been called monkey, but it doesn't end there," Joe North said.

The neighbors of Babcock Ranch say they're concerned for the culture of their community.

"When I first heard about this, I was very shocked and disappointed," Allegra Knight said. Knight attended the protest and lives in the neighborhood.

Ann Schneider has lived in Babcock Ranch for almost 4 years.

"I'm horrified by what's happening here at our school," she said.

Ultimately, these protesters say they're looking for change.

"We want to make sure that any culture of chaos and hatred at Babcock is a thing of the past and not the future," Joseph North said.