Aberdeen paying $100,000 to bullied student

Jan 26, 2012

An African-American man who was bullied when he was a student in Aberdeen has won a major settlement from the school district. Russell Dickerson III sued the district in federal court for not stopping his classmates from harassing him throughout junior high and high school. 

Dickerson will get $100,000 for enduring what he said was a “prison sentence” that included “daily fear” of harassment. His lawsuit alleged Aberdeen district officials were well aware that his classmates regularly chastised him for being African-American, threw food at him, and even threatened to lynch him on a website.

Yet, administrators did very little to intervene, according to his complaint.

The suit

ACLU lawyers represented Dickerson. They argued that the Aberdeen school district violated the federal civil rights act and Washington State anti-discrimination law. The ACLU will receive $35,000 dollars in legal fees as part of the settlement.

In response to the lawsuit, Aberdeen’s superintendent responded saying administrators did, in fact, discipline students who were confirmed to have bullied Dickerson and take complaints of harassment very seriously.

The settlement comes a little over a year after Dickerson filed charges.  He’s now 20-years-old and still lives in Aberdeen. In a statement announcing the resolution, he said:

“I learned from my parents that you should never give up.You should fight for your rights – you don’t just walk away."