US student sues school after being told she was 'too dark' for dance recital

  • 21/01/2019

A US student is suing her high school after she was allegedly stopped from dancing in a performance because her black skin was deemed to be a potential distraction for the audience.

Camille Sturdivant has filed a lawsuit against the Blue Valley school district in Kansas, alleging she was racially discriminated against and ostracised by her school after complaining.

She is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

She claims she was prevented from dancing for her high school's Dazzlers dance team by its then-choreographer in 2017.

The reasoning she was given for that decision, Ms Sturdivant alleges in the lawsuit, is that her complexion was "too dark", and her skin would therefore clash with the team's uniform.

In a statement, the school district explained that the choreographer had been fired by the school after text messages were shown to the principal.

Ms Sturdivant had seen the text messages when she was given the choreographer's smartphone to play music for the dance team. They allegedly used an expletive before a description of her as black, and expressed distaste at a university's decision to put her on its dance team the following year.

"The District expects staff to treat all students with respect at all times, and any report that this expectation has not been fulfilled is taken very seriously," the district said.

In another allegation, Ms Sturdivant says she and the only other black member of the dance team had been deliberately excluded from team photos.

Newshub.

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