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NY federal appeals court: $1M not an excessive award for high school racial harassment

A $1 million award that's one of the biggest ever issued for racial harassment in high school has been upheld by a New York court.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said Monday it was fair for a jury to conclude a school district should've done more to stop demeaning, threatening and violent conduct directed at Anthony Zeno (ZEE'-noh), a former student at Stissing Mountain High School in Dutchess County.

The appeals court's opinion notes the 23-year-old Zeno is "dark-skinned and biracial, half-white, half-Latino." It says he was "menaced" at a school where minorities represented less than 5 percent of the student population. It says the Pine Plains Central School District knew Zeno was called numerous racial slurs.

Zeno's lawyer praises the ruling. Lawyers for the school district haven't returned a call seeking comment.

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