Billings Schools Settle Athlete Suspension Lawsuit for $25K

Multiracial basketball player claimed nonminority athletes were not suspended for attending same party where students were drinking alcohol

By Associated Press

BILLINGS — The Billings school board has approved a $25,000 settlement in the case of a student who alleged racial discrimination in being suspended from the basketball team for attending a party where underage students were drinking alcohol.

The Billings Gazette reports the multiracial West High student was suspended for five games in January 2017. The federal complaint alleged other nonminority athletes were at the party, but were not suspended.

Under school policy, a student who enters a function and recognizes illegal activity is taking place can leave without being penalized. School officials said an investigation determined the student spent “an appreciable length of time” at the party and did not notify his coach, as required under school policy.

District officials said other students who violated the code of conduct were suspended.

The payment is covered by the school district’s insurance.