COLUMBIA, S.C. — A group of Columbia High School students have taken the Columbia County school system to court for using the term “white supremacists” to describe a group of students.
The group, Students for a Better Columbia, has filed a lawsuit against the district, arguing the school district used the term in a way that hurt students’ feelings and violated the First Amendment.
They have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the issue and have requested that the school board “remove the phrase ‘white supremacy’ from the school calendar.”
The lawsuit was filed in the U-S District Court in Columbia on behalf of five students and their parents, including a student who identifies as a member of the alt-right movement, according to a copy of the complaint.
The students say the district has a history of using the phrase “white supremacy” and is using it to disparage the students.
They say it harms students’ reputations and negatively affects their education.
The students said they have been called “nigger dogs” and “niggers” and the school is known for racial slurs.
The lawsuit says the district “has repeatedly and intentionally misused” the term and has created an atmosphere of fear and discrimination for students and faculty.
The school district issued a statement saying it has “a zero tolerance policy for hate speech” and that it does not tolerate such comments.
“In a time when racism, bigotry and bigotry are all too common on college campuses across America, the actions of the Columbia High school students do not reflect the values of the school, and the Columbia high schools community is committed to maintaining a safe and supportive environment for all students,” the statement said.
The district said it has received numerous reports of hateful messages on social media.