First in a series

Written By: sherridaley - • •

This defies a category, in my opinion.  First, read this…

New Jersey kids win $500,000 settlement after being forced to eat on school’s gym floor

By NBC News staff and wire reports

Seven students forced to eat lunch on their New Jersey school’s gymnasium floor for two weeks as punishment won a $500,000 legal settlement, their attorney said Tuesday.

The 2008 incident involved fifth-grade students at Charles Sumner Elementary School in Camden, N.J., who were disciplined after one child spilled water as he tried to lift a jug onto a cooler, according to lawyer Alan Schorr.

The students filed a federal lawsuit against the Camden Board of Education, which agreed to the settlement, Schorr said.

He said the incident took place against a backdrop of discord between the black and Hispanic populations in the impoverished southern New Jersey city. The children were Hispanic.

Schorr said the vice principal, who was African-American, punished all 15 students in a bilingual class by making them eat off paper liners normally used on lunch trays. (While there were 15 students in the class, only seven sued.)

“The African-American kids were eating at tables, with trays, taunting these Hispanic kids who were forced to eat on the ground,” Schorr said.

The vice principal has since transferred. reported that the board of education had approved the settlement but not admitted any guilt.

It added:

“Under the settlement, the students will split $280,000, which works out to $31,428 each. Their attorney, Alan H. Schorr of Cherry Hill, will get $220,000.”


The children’s teacher was fired after encouraging them to tell their parents about the punishment. The teacher won a $75,000 settlement earlier.

Neither school officials nor their lawyers could be reached for comment


Of COURSE they can’t be reached for comment.  Anything they could possibly say would be wrong.  First of all, “backdrop of discord” has “gang activity” written all over it, and I sincerely doubt that spilling water was the real reason for discipline. Something doesn’t sound right and I, for one, would like the rest of the story.

In today’s tender atmosphere of racism and profiling, why is does this article make it so clear the ethnicity of all involved, except, by the way, the teacher who was fired?  (And, by the way, the lawyer, who walked away with the lion’s share of the money.)

1.  Why is sitting on the floor, eating off paper placemats, such a dreadful punishment?  Sounds a lot like a picnic.

2.  When bullying has become a by-word in today’s news and lawsuits, why weren’t the African-American students who “taunting” the Hispanics disciplined?

3.  With public schools systems in such dire need of funding, wouldn’t that money be better spent on school supplies, textbooks, school staff salaries, and the like? (Don’t bother answering that…it’s rhetorical.)   If the students felt their educations were compromised because of the incident (which I doubt), that money could have been put away for their college educations.

We all know what this was: an egregious abuse of the justice system.  Shame on the judge for not throwing it out of court.

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