Published April 12, 2016
A white student at a predominantly Hispanic and black Long Island high school says he was targeted for punishment over his race — punched, hit with a chair and repeatedly called “cracker” and “white boy” — while administrators did nothing to protect him.
Lawyers for Giovanni Micheli, now 23, aim to convince a federal jury that their client was singled out as a “minority” in Brentwood High School and then told by school officials, most of them white, to either “project more self-confidence” in order to stem the beating and berating — or leave.
Micheli sued the Brentwood School District in 2010, and the trial opened Monday in Brooklyn federal court.
“Giovanni was a minority because he was Caucasian,” attorney Wayne Schaefer said in his opening statement. “This case is about discrimination against a minority student . . . Our claim is that there was deliberate indifference because he was a Caucasian student complaining in a district where Caucasians are a minority.”
After his parents complained, administrators eventually removed Micheli from the campus in favor of home tutoring, according to Schaefer.