Ignored School Violence Alert Raises Questions

     CHICAGO (CN) – A school official may be liable for the shooting of a black teenager shortly after his mother complained about racially linked gang violence, a federal judge ruled.
     Robert Mixon, a black student at Hubbard High School, was shot in the back on Jan. 26, 2010, while running across the school parking lot to retrieve his backpack. He claimed that two Hispanic students flashed gang signs and yelled “shoot him,” just before pulling the trigger.
     The shooting left Mixon unable to play contact sports again, “which was his passion,” according to the complaint he and his mother filed against the Chicago Board of Education and several of its officials, as well as the principal of Hubbard and the commander of the Chicago Police.
     The Mixons claimed that Hubbard had been experiencing an escalating gang presence as racial tensions grew on campus, which has a predominantly Hispanic student body.
     Calvette Mixon, the boy’s mother, had allegedly contacted the defendants days before the shooting to express concern for her son’s safety.
     She said Eugene Crawford, a management support director for the Chicago Public Schools, never called her back after she left a message on Jan. 22.
     Crawford moved to dismiss the claims against him, but U.S. District Judge John Lee found that Crawford may be liable for violations of Section 1983 in his individual capacity.
     As the allegations about Calvette Mixon’s call to Crawford show, “plaintiffs allege that Crawford had personal knowledge that Robert Mixon was in danger of serious harm at Hubbard and that Crawford did nothing about it,” according to the ruling. “Such allegations are sufficient to survive Crawford’s motion to dismiss.”
     Lee nevertheless dismissed claims against Crawford in his official capacity.”
     Because plaintiffs have sued the Chicago Board of Education, their claims against defendant Crawford in his official capacity are dismissed as redundant,” the ruling states.
     The Mixons furthermore do not have no claim under Section 1981 because they did not have a contract with Crawford.

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