Lawsuit: Weston parent claims school officials discriminated against his son

Weston Middle School in Weston, CT.

Weston Middle School in Weston, CT.

Weston Historical Society

WESTON — A parent has filed a lawsuit against the Board of Education, claiming his child was wrongfully expelled and a victim of racial discrimination.

The suit, filed on Oct. 14 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, names the Weston BOE as the sole defendant.

School officials declined to comment.

The lawsuit stems from an apparent threat directed at a teacher on April 29, 2019. According to the lawsuit, a white student threatened a teacher and was immediately removed and suspended from Weston Middle School. A second white student was also allegedly involved in the threat, but was not removed, the lawsuit reads.

In the lawsuit, Brian Murray-Dalrymple, a Black Weston parent, claims his child was aware of the threat, but did not participate.

However, a school district official referred Murray-Dalrymple’s son to the Weston Police Department on May 15, 2019, claiming he had “credible evidence” the boy was involved, according to the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, school officials claimed the evidence was based on information from the suspended student, who implicated Murray-Dalrymple’s son in the threat. The student had previously made racist remarks to Murray-Dalrymple’s child, the lawsuit said.

Murray-Dalrymple’s child was suspended the next day, according to the lawsuit.

District officials sent an email to school security with a photo of Murray-Dalrymple’s child on May 20, 2019, alerting them he was not permitted on school grounds, the lawsuit said.

According to the lawsuit, administrators sent a series of emails to the school community on three consecutive days about potential safety concerns and risks of violence after Murray-Dalrymple’s child was removed.

In comparison, the lawsuit said when the first student was removed, “a short email which downplayed the accusations against him” was sent to the school community. There was “no mention of security issues or other concerns,” the lawsuit states.

Murray-Dalrymple’s child was also prohibited from attending his sister’s graduation a few weeks later, the lawsuit said.

“In contrast, Caucasian students who have been prohibited from entering school grounds have done so in the immediate presence of security personnel without any adverse consequences,” the lawsuit states.

Murray-Dalrymple has been vocal of the racial disparities he’s seen in the school district. In June, one of his children showed him several photos of social media posts allegedly from Weston students that used racial slurs.

Following the incident, the school board began discussions on establishing a new task force to tackle diversity of staff, curriculum, and the district’s approach to addressing similar incidents.

Murray-Dalrymple’s child was expelled on June 4, 2019. Between when the boy was expelled and June 2020, the lawsuit claims the school district deprived him of more than 100 hours of state-mandated tutoring, which didn’t start until after a formal complaint was made to the state Department of Education.

Murray-Dalrymple said his child was then placed in alternative school for 180 days. He said he filed the lawsuit after formally filing a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.

According to the lawsuit, Murray-Dalrymple’s child’s educational development has suffered and the child and parent have “suffered severe emotional distress” due to the experience.

Murray-Dalrymple is seeking judgment on his own behalf and of his child for an undisclosed amount of compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney fees and other costs.