A WHITE teen is to sue her allegedly “racist” school district for $2million for refusing to publish her sonnet about George Floyd’s death.
Ruby Ray, 16, penned ‘Derek Chauvin’s Ode to George Floyd: A Dark Sonnet’ but Vandermeulen High School in Suffolk County rejected the piece for its literary magazine.
The family of the sophomore at Port Jefferson’s mainly white school filed a $2million notice of claim against the school in Suffolk County Supreme Court on Tuesday, reports the New York Post.
Floyd, 46, who was black, died on May 25, 2020, after then-Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck, pinning him to the ground for about nine-and-a-half minutes.
Chauvin, who is white, was convicted last month of murder and faces sentencing on June 25.
Ruby's sonnet includes the lines: “Black man, it’s you we’ll crack,’ white men proclaimed; ‘Stay down,’ they say, your fate is in our hands.
“'Obey, ok, obey me, I’m the cop.
"Who kneels upon your naked soul, who stands.
“On top your darkened head until you stop."
She was hoping her school mag, The Mast, would support her writing efforts, and publish her first poem.
Her family's legal claim alleges a violation of Ruby's First Amendment rights.
Ruby, a 10th-grader, told the NYP: “I thought this was a free country and you have the right to express yourself in any way you choose.
“That’s not the case in the Port Jefferson School District. I felt it wasn’t America anymore.”
She had 'assumed' school bosses "would be amazed how it really captured the hatred that the police had toward George Floyd,’’ Ruby said.
But the magazine’s faculty adviser, school English teacher Matthew Sefick, allegedly advised Ruby that he was "less inclined to include" it "because of the political aspect".
Ruby Ray’s ‘Derek Chauvin’s Ode to George Floyd: A Dark Sonnet’
"From Momma’s hands, you had not any chance.
“The street, the ‘hood made you so young ashamed
“To stand tall, to control your circumstance.
“ ‘Black man, it’s you we’ll crack,’ white men proclaimed;
“ ‘Stay down,’ they say, your fate is in our hands.
“Obey, ok, obey me, I’m the cop.
“Who kneels upon your naked soul, who stands
“On top your darkened head until you stop
“Your sorry cry for mamma; take no breath,
“I bring justice here, pressed upon your neck.
“If I decide, you now face certain death,
“A fate deserved, ‘cuz you passed a bad check.
“You can’t breath? Then cease your black man drama,
“I will make you weep for ‘Mamma! Mamma!’ ”
The Post alleges that in an email it has seen, the teacher warns that there were "certain topics that might be difficult to address in an open forum like The Mast".
The teacher is alleged to have said it was a "touchy subject".
He allegedly added that it was "an emotionally charged" sonnet piece "and emotions run deep in an audience".
The family’s notice of claim, lodged in court before its pending lawsuit, alleges that school officials had blocked the poem “in order to please, protect, promote, placate and defend white racism in Respondents’ school and community, and white racism in general".
Ruby's lawyer dad, John Ray, alleged her school’s refusal to publish his daughter’s 'powerful' poem “is just racist".
District Superintendent Jessica Schmettan declined to comment to The Post, citing “pending litigation".
The school has not as yet responded to the NYP.
Floyd’s murder at the hands of a white police officer sparked global protests and a racial reckoning.
It sparked months of global Black Lives Matter protests and a worldwide racial justice movement that has continued until the first anniversary of his killing.
A Minnesota judge has ruled that there were aggravating factors in the death of Floyd, which could cause a longer sentence for Chauvin.
In early May 2021, Judge Peter Cahill found that the ex-cop abused his authority as a police officer when he restrained Floyd last year and that he treated Floyd with particular cruelty.
Even with the aggravating factors, legal experts have said, Chauvin, 45, is unlikely to get more than 30 years when he is sentenced on June 25.
Chauvin was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck as the black man said he couldn’t breathe and went motionless.
A medical examiner on June 1, 2020, classified Floyd’s death as a homicide, saying his heart stopped as police restrained him and compressed his neck
Even though he was found guilty of three counts, under Minnesota statutes he’ll only be sentenced on the most serious one — second-degree murder.
The US House of Representatives are set to pass a sweeping policing reform bill, named in honour of Floyd, for the second time.
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