Student Says Holocaust Lesson Went Too Far
AMARILLO, Texas (CN) - A teenager says in Federal Court that he was seriously injured when he was required to role-play as a Jew while taking orders from students in the role of Nazis during an educational exercise about the Holocaust.
Andrew Yara, 19, of Ochiltree County, said the Perryton Independent School District tradition is known as Red Ribbon Day.
Students who wore red ribbons played the role of Jews who had to comply with the demands of students who did not wear red ribbons, who played the role of Nazis, according to the federal complaint.
"[Red ribbon students] must do everything school faculty or other students tell them to, including picking up other students' trash, being taken outside and sprayed with water hoses, bear-crawling across the hot track, carrying other students' books, and even carrying other students," the complaint states. "Engaging in this exercise was compulsory, with it constituting 60% of a major test grade for students in their World History Class, and any student who did not do everything they were told were receive a failing grade."
Yara said he was forced to carry three different students to class during the span of one passing period, resulting in severe back injuries that required several medical procedures.
One student who demanded Yara carry him was 170 pounds, while Yara weighed 100 pounds at the time. Another classmate later jumped onto Yara's back while he was still carrying the other student, resulting in a "shocking, burning" pain to shoot down both of Yara's legs from his pelvis, according to the complaint.
In the following weeks, Yara was allegedly taken to the emergency room after passing out at work at United Supermarket. He also claims to have suffered seizure-like symptoms at church.
The school showed "deliberate indifference" to Yara's constitutional right to human dignity by "subjecting him to a process that was designed to expose him to unwarranted shame, indignity, and virtually certain injury," the complaint states. "That this was supposed to be an educational experience does not excuse the cruelty, inhumanity, or injury that occurred," according to the lawsuit.
Yara seeks damages for violations of his right to bodily integrity under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, and his right to be free from excessive force under the Fourth Amendment.
He is represented by Greg White in Waco.
Perryton is approximately 120 miles northeast of Amarillo.