One more win against racist bullying has been claimed!
Two sisters, Jayla Tolliver and Taylissa Marriott (both 15-years-old) claimed they spent their freshmen at Yerington High School in Yerington, Nevada suffering racist bullying, both in person and on social media. Tolliver and Marriott decided to sue the city of Yerington and the Lyon County School District for their horrible experience.
The trouble began on October 8, 2017 when photos of a Lyon County sheriff's son holding a gun were posted on social media with the caption, “the red neck god of all gods … we bout to go n*gger huntin’ and “Watch out n*ggers.”
According to the Reno Gazette Journal, U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks ruled in favor of the sisters, granting them and their family a lump sum settlement, including full payment of approximately $160,000 in attorney fees. The district has also agreed to pay for the teens' counseling.
The girls' attorney, Terri Keyser-Cooper, accused the school of not properly investigating the matter. Yerington Police Chief Darren Wagner confirmed he had not investigated the social media threats, as he felt they were protected under free speech. He also said the family's police statements were accidentally shredded.
"I would like to thank everyone who had our back and listened when no one would, through this long painful experience. I learned that you should never let your voice be unheard even when people turn their backs and tell you to lower your voice. Racism is something I never thought I’d go through," Tolliver said in a statement. "Racism is also something many people have done nothing about, but I am proud to say that I am one of the few who stood up when my race was an issue to others. I will always look back on this tragedy knowing that it made me the strong African American woman I am today! … I hope that our story inspires others. Always remember no matter where you are from, what you look like, how different you talk, or how you walk we are all equal."
Marriott also released a statement, noting, "I just wanted to start off saying my sister Jayla and I are so thankful. I would never in a million years believe we would have to go through what we did. For having you guys say that you are here for us and standing by our sides gave us so much hope that we could fight and overcome all the horrific behavior. In the beginning, we didn’t realize how much of a change we have made and by us being some of the many to stand up and let their voice be heard made me feel that we did change the way people judge and look at someone before they actually know them. But I want to say a BIG thank you to Swope Middle School for being some of the biggest supporters and some of the first to reach out to my sister and me."
In a statement, the Lyon County School District said it "is pleased to confirm that this matter has been resolved. The district looks forward to working positively with students, families, and staff to ensure a safe and respectful learning environment for everyone."