Shannon Rice, Hendersonville High School student.
Shannon Rice, Hendersonville High School student.

A Hendersonville, Tenn., mother is suing the Sumner County Schools after allegations of racism at a mid-state high school, saying the school system did not do enough to prevent verbal abuse against her daughter.

Wanda Rice is the mother of former Hendersonville High School student Shannon Rice – a Black student who was on the girls’ basketball team earlier this year.

Rice says her daughter was verbally abused, shoved and insulted by her fellow teammates because she is Black.

A lawsuit, set to be filed Tuesday, claims teammates called Shannon the N-word several times while on the team, and they even joked that the locker rooms “smelled like Black people” when she or another African-American teammate were in it.

The lawsuit says even coaches who heard the taunting laughed along with the students at times.

Rice says she sent a complaint letter to the director of Sumner County schools in February, and a response indicated an investigation would be started, but Rice says that was last she’s heard of it.

“As a parent it’s very shocking, as my daughter is recounting a story of where she had to endure her teammates — who are supposed to be a family,” Rice said. “They say ‘we’re like a family,’ well, family doesn’t do that to you.”

Shannon Rice left Hendersonville High and is now being homeschooled.

This is the second such discrimination case involving similar incidents with the Hendersonville High School girls’ basketball team.

In response to the first case, the Sumner County Schools said they followed their policies and procedures and they deny the allegations against them.

The school system said it was too early to comment on Rice’s lawsuit.



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