Walker sues LRSD for discrimination (UPDATE: LR mayoral candidate involved?) | Arkansas Blog

Friday, August 4, 2006

Walker sues LRSD for discrimination (UPDATE: LR mayoral candidate involved?)

Posted By on Fri, Aug 4, 2006 at 9:33 AM

Little Rock attorney John Walker Wednesday filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Little Rock School District Board of Education, District Superintendent Roy Brooks and Central High School Principal Nancy Rousseau.

The plaintiffs are anonymous, but the action is in behalf of a 15-year-old African-American student whose rights were allegedly violated under federal disability and due process laws. The suit alleges that because she suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, she was the victim of a "scheme" by which she was removed from the Central High School junior varsity cheerleading team.

This allegedly included Rousseau and others selecting "cheerleading judges who would support their agenda."

Among other things, the suit asks for Brooks and Rousseau to each personally compensate the plaintiffs for over $75,000 in damages, and for the court to provide an injunction placing the girl back on the cheerleading team for the upcoming school year.

Chris Heller, the school district's attorney, told us yesterday, "This is one that should be strongly defended. There is a whole lot in there that is not true at all."

Walker did not return our phone call yesterday.

UPDATE (11 a.m.): John Walker just returned our call. We asked him if, as a source indicated yesterday, Little Rock mayoral candidate Bill Walker is a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

"I'm not allowed to disclose that," John Walker said.

Walker also asserted that the defendants did not abide by federal law and school district policies that require "senstive consideration that takes into account the child's handicapped condition." Furthermore, he contends, when the plaintiffs initiated their complaint, the school district was supposed to find a "neutral arbiter" to resolve the matter, but instead only relied on its attorney, Chris Heller, to review it.

"In our opinion, having one lawyer who is an advocate for one party looking at it does not constitute neutrality," Walker said. "He is not in a position to make a fair decision."

Walker said he will file a formal motion on Monday seeking an early preliminary hearing.

UPDATE #2 (1:50 p.m.): Bill Walker returned our call and said he could not comment.

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