LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A middle-school student who says she was offended by remarks her teacher made after she wore a Mexico soccer shirt to class is planning to file a lawsuit against her school district, a Latino rights group announced Thursday.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said it has filed paperwork in Los Angeles federal court to allow Coral Aviles, now 14, to sue the Bear Valley Unified School District in San Bernardino County.
Aviles said the comments began after she showed up for school during the World Cup games last year wearing a Mexico soccer jersey. She said her performing arts teacher asked whether she was Mexican.
When she answered yes, Aviles said, the teacher responded that “because of people like you, I pay high taxes, and because of people like you, my insurance is sky high,” according to official statements.
“I tried to speak with the principal about it,” the Mexican-American teen said. “When I returned, the teacher asked me to leave the classroom because I was crying so much. I never expected to be treated so badly because of who I am.”
A representative for the Bear Valley Unified School District said there was no immediate comment because the paperwork had not yet been received.
Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF’s president and general counsel, said the lawsuit brought on behalf of Aviles would allege violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
“Our current national environment seems to condone increasingly open and undeserved hostility toward Latino immigrants,” Saenz said. “We must draw the line at the schoolhouse door. Every child deserves the opportunity to learn, free of discriminatory practices and statements from those running the schools.”
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