Black student sues after allegedly told she was 'too dark' for dance team

An African-American student in Kansas who was allegedly told she was “too dark” to perform on the high school dance team has filed a racial discrimination suit against the school district.

Camille Sturdivant sued Blue Valley Northwest High School in federal court, according to the Kansas City Star.

Sturdivant, one of two people of color on the 14-member school dance team, alleges that dance team choreographer Kevin Murakami made the comment about her skin color in 2017, saying it would distract the audience from looking at the other dancers.


“Murakami also told Sturdivant that her skin color clashed with the color of the costumes,” the lawsuit says.

Carley Fine, the dance team's coach, was fired because of racial comments she made about Sturdivant, according to the lawsuit.

The suit focuses on texts sent between the two dance instructors, who were surprised that she had made it onto the team for the next school year at the University of Missouri.

“THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. I’m so mad,” one text from Murakami read, according to the suit, which said Fine responded with, “it actually makes my stomach hurt,” adding “Bc she’s (expletive) black. I hate that.”

The texts resulted in Fine’s firing after Sturdivant discovered them, but the suit alleges Fine was back on campus working with members of the school dance team several times.

The suit names the school district, Principal Amy Pressly, Fine and Katie Porter, the parent of another dancer on the team who's also a school district teacher, as defendants. It seeks an unspecified amount in damages.

“Respectful and meaningful relationships between staff and students are at the heart of Blue Valley’s culture,” the school district said in a statement to the Kansas City Star. “Discrimination of any kind has no place here. The District expects staff to treat all students with respect at all times, and any report that this expectation has not been fulfilled is taken very seriously."