California teens awarded over $1 million after wrongly expulsion for alleged blackface

The students, who were 14 years old at the time, had taken a photo during a sleepover in 2017 while wearing a green acne face mask in solidarity with a friend suffering from severe acne.

California teens awarded over $1 million after wrongly expulsion for alleged blackface
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Two teenagers who were expelled from Saint Francis High School, an elite Catholic institution in Mountain View, California, have been jointly awarded more than $1 million after proving that they were falsely accused of wearing blackface. The students, who were 14 years old at the time, had taken a photo during a sleepover in 2017 while wearing a green acne face mask in solidarity with a friend suffering from severe acne.

The treatment, purchased by one of the boys' mothers, was light green when applied and turned dark green once dry. The "innocent" selfie went viral three years later when it was discovered and widely shared during the height of the Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, the LA Times reported.

A Santa Clara County jury agreed this week that the school breached an oral contract and failed to provide due process before expelling the students in 2020. The students, identified only as A.H. and H.H. in the lawsuit, were each awarded $500,000, and their $70,000 tuition will be reimbursed.

Krista Baughman, one of the attorneys representing the students, emphasized the significance of the case, stating, "This case is significant not only for our clients but for its groundbreaking effect on all private high schools in California, which are now legally required to provide fair procedure to students before punishing or expelling them."

A.H.'s family expressed their gratitude in a statement, saying, "We want to sincerely thank the jury and the court system for helping our boys and our families find justice, which now paves the way for their names to be cleared for things they never did."

Although the lawsuit initially sought $20 million, the jury rejected some of the boys' claims, including defamation and violation of free speech.

Representatives for Saint Francis High School stated that they "respectfully disagree" with the jury's decision and are "exploring legal options," which may include an appeal.

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  • By David Menzies

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