Spelling Bee Leads To Federal Lawsuit

     BROOKLYN (CN) – A mother claims her eighth-grader won his intermediate school’s spelling bee, but the principal would not let him advance to the next round, the district competition, because her son is a special education student, and “was not smart enough.”

     The mom claims P.S. 252 Principal Mendis Brown humiliated her son by saying “he was not smart enough” to represent the school in the district 18K competition because he was a special education student. The school and district spelling bees are steps toward the state championship.
     In her federal claim against Brown and the New York City Department of Education, the mother says Brown told her son “that even though he won the spelling bee, he was not ‘bright’ enough to go any further in the competition.”
     She claims her son, who is black, studied to win the contest, and then suffered mental and emotional harm from discrimination, which violated school policy.
     The mother and son are represented by Robert Renna of Manhattan.

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