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GUILDERLAND: District prevails in suit

In the lawsuit, Barmore sought judgment on several claims, including that he encountered race-based hostility at school, disparate treatment, negligence and that he did not receive due process when he was punished.

In regard to the school providing a hostile environment for Barmore, the judgment cites lack of evidence for its dismissal: Despite evidence that racial and religious epithets were regularly uttered in the halls and on the buses of the school district, there is no evidence that they were heard by the plaintiff."

Barmore's lawyer, Paul Wein, called the decision shocking and contradictory.

"It boggles my mind," said Wein.

Wein said, in one instance, the ruling states the district claims they had no knowledge that Barmore was subject to racial taunts, and yet it also states that the principal was informed of slurs being directed toward Barmore.

"If the principal was aware, how could they say they did not know," said Wein. "That's ridiculous."

"The level of evidence that the school district presented compared to the plaintiff is disproportionate," said Gregg T. Johnson, the lawyer who represented the school district.

Wein disagreed and said there were affidavits submitted, not included in the final ruling, where Guilderland students claim they had heard "the 'n' word being used in the halls on a regular basis" and that two students submitted affidavits claiming they chose to attend another school because the problem was so prevalent.

Asked Wein, "What do you need to show, cross-burnings?"

In terms of disparate treatment, the court said that Barmore had to establish that he was treated differently than others in similar situations and that this treatment was motivated by an intent to discriminate on the basis of race.

The court ruled that the plaintiff provided no basis upon which a jury could conclude that any of the defendants involved in the disciplinary action "were motivated by a desire to punish or inhibit his exercise of constitutional rights, or by a malicious or bad faith intent to injure him."

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