Lawyers for a teacher who was temporarily suspended from teaching at a Brentwood middle school amid allegations he made racially charged remarks in class want a judge to dismiss him as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by a mixed-race student.

Attorneys for Steven Carnine filed court papers Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court stating that their client is not racist, but a “well-liked and revered teacher” who “does not shy away from teaching our children the ugly and unpleasant truths of our history.”

The lawsuit, filed March 18, alleges Carnine used the “N-word” and said Michael Brown, the young man shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, “got what he deserved.” The suit also names Los Angeles Unified and Paul Revere Charter Middle School and Magnet Center.

Court papers show the complaint was filed by a parent identified only as Shawn B. for the benefit of his daughter, Maggie B., a student at Paul Revere School.

The suit alleges civil rights violations and seeks unspecified damages as well as a court order directing that the LAUSD provide accommodations to students “free from prohibited discrimination.”

Early this year, the girl was assigned to an eighth-grade history class taught by Carnine, the suit says. On Jan. 16, the day after the birthday of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Carnine handed out a questionnaire that asked about racial stereotypes, according to the plaintiff.

During the ensuing discussion, Carnine brought up the shooting of Michael Brown by former Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson, the lawsuit states.

“In discussing the incident, Carnine said that the guy was a thug and he got what he deserved,” according to the suit, which alleges that the teacher also said, “Black people are judged for not being smart because they are not smart. A lot of them are just athletes.”

That same day, Carnine, during a lecture on the Civil War, stated that “people didn’t like Lincoln because he was a (N-word) lover,” the complaint alleges. Carnine was “staring and smirking” at the plaintiff when he made the remark, according to the suit.

But according to Carnine’s attorneys’ court papers, the girl was in their client’s class for five days. He never intended to discriminate against the student based on her race or by anything he said, his attorneys state in their court papers.

“The lecture was about the stereotypes people use to describe different races,” the suit states. “The students were asked to provide the information on a questionnaire. This was a teaching exercise and nothing more.”

Carnine’s attorneys further state in their court papers that there exist “harsh realities engrained in learning about the periods of ignorance and intolerance in our history and society; a lesson that all American youth should have full and equal access to growing up in this country.”

A hearing on Carnine’s dismissal motion is scheduled July 16 before Judge Elizabeth Feffer.

The plaintiff is under 18 and is half black and half white, according to the suit. She started attending Paul Revere School in 2013 as a seventh-grade student and selected the campus because of its racial and socioeconomic diversity, according to the complaint.

— City News Service

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