OAN’s Abril Elfi
11:11 AM – Thursday, January 18, 2024
The family of an eighth grade student in California is suing their son’s principal and superintendent after he was suspended for wearing black under-eye face paint to a sports game. School employees accused the child of sporting “blackface.”
On Wednesday, the father of the accused student, Daniel Ameduri, whose son is being referred to as “J.A.” in court documents for privacy and safety reasons, and their lawyer appeared on Fox News to discuss their lawsuit against the La Jolla, California, middle school.
“It was a normal day, everything was normal. No one said anything. It was a normal football game and La Jolla won,” J.A. said.
The boy continued by noting that he put black eye paint on like football players do in order to show school spirit while attending a high school football game between La Jolla High School and Morse High School.
“I used to go to a lot of football games when I lived in Texas, and I used to play football and sometimes we put that on if one of the kids brought it,” he added.
Amaduri, his father, said that he was in “shock” when he found out that his son had been called into the principal’s office to be reprimanded a couple days after the game.
Reportedly, no nearby spectators had complained about the child’s face paint and there had been no additional incidents that his son was involved in.
“Then, the following Monday, Tuesday, nothing,” he continued. “Wednesday afternoon the principal called J.A. into the office, and the next morning my wife and I showed up and he said, ‘He did blackface,’ and he was suspended for two days and was gonna be banned from sports.”
Ameduri later showed the Muirlands Middle School principal a photo of his son from that night, which he assumed would end the controversy and “vindicate” his son, however, the principal abruptly responded, saying, “No, that’s blackface.”
“Anyone that has ever been to a sports game knows that this is very normal and these are kids that were playing hide and seek a few days prior at my house… half of the group are minorities, some of them African American, it’s just ridiculous that this would be a racial incident,” the father said.
The family’s lawyer, Karin Sweigart, was also present at the interview and explained the lawsuit in greater detail, stating that they are “directly suing the principal and superintendent.”
“We’re suing the principal directly, the superintendent and then the people who made the decision to rubber stamp the principal’s ridiculous decision to suspend J.A.,” Sweigart said. “There was a recent case just in the last couple of years at the Supreme Court where they talked about the out-of-school speech rights that students have to be able to express themselves. It was very clear that unless you have a substantial disruption on the campus, schools cannot restrict the out-of-school speech rights of students,” she added. “Here the school is just going way beyond the constitutional strictures that they have to be able to regulate student speech.”
J.A. maintains that he never intended to offend or harm anyone in any way and his father stated that the school is the one “ showing absolute racism right now.”
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