LAS VEGAS – The Clark County School District has answered a lawsuit from two parents who said their high school-aged daughter had to read a profanity-filled monologue that was later deemed too offensive to be read at a school board meeting.
Candra Evans and Terrell Evans filed a lawsuit against the district, Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara, the teacher, and other people because they said that the “pornographic material” was used to “illegally groom and abuse a minor.”
The name of the 15-year-old student at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts is not in the lawsuit. But Candra Evans said in public that she was the student’s mother at a school board meeting in May. She did this when she spoke to trustees about her concerns.
Lawyers for the district and Jara write in their response, “The CCSD defendants take the allegations in the complaint very seriously, and school administrators met with Mrs. Evans more than once to try to address her concerns.” “However, their good intentions have been ruined by the exaggerated and inflammatory language used in the pleadings filed by plaintiffs.”
The parents’ lawsuit said that in March, the teacher gave her class an assignment in which each student had to write a monologue and then act out the writing of another student. The lawsuit said that the student’s assigned monologue “contained explicit, obscene, and sexually violent material.”
“[The teacher] helped the other student edit their obscenely violent pornographic monologue, knowing that it would then be given to another student to read, memorize, and perform in front of the class,” the lawsuit said.
In their answer, lawyers for CCSD wrote that the monologue was meant to be a way for students to express themselves and gain more writing and acting experience. “In a theatre class, it’s understood that an actor doesn’t have to accept or agree with the character they’re playing or the topic of the assignment.”
The lawsuit said that in the last version of the monologue, a young woman told her ex-boyfriend that she was a lesbian. The monologue, which the teacher allegedly changed, went like this:
“I don’t love you. It’s not you, it’s just (looks down) your d***. I don’t like your d*** or any d*** in that case. I cheated Joe. We were long distance and I’m in college and me and this girl, my roommate, started having some drinks and you know, I thought it was a one-time thing but then we started going out for coffee, and started sleeping in the same bed. I never thought it would get this far but God, it was like fireworks, and made me realize that with you it was always like a pencil sharpener that keeps getting jammed. I’ve tried to look at it from all different perspectives, but the truth is, I’m a f***** lesbian. I’ll never love you or any man, or any f****** d***. I hope you find a nice straight girl because that’s not me, and I’m tired of pretending that it is.”
According to CCSD’s answer, a slide from a PowerPoint that was shown in class. (KLAS) “Students were told more than once that if they didn’t like the topic of a monologue, they could choose a different monologue to read in front of the class,” CCSD lawyers wrote in court documents.
The lawsuit said that Candra Evans found out about the task in April 2022. Then, she went to the school to talk to a teacher or administrator about her worries. The administrator then talked about the assignment with both Candra Evans and Terrell Evans.
The parents also asked someone at the Metropolitan Police Department of Las Vegas. That person said that the Clark County School District Police would need to be notified. In their lawsuit, the parents say that a report was made but then changed. In response, the CCSD lawyers said that no crime had been done.
In their response, lawyers for the district say that “there is no allegation that [the student] found the monologue offensive” or that “[the student] expressed any reluctance or concerns about performing the same.” There is no claim that [the student] was in any kind of pain because of the monologue.
Also, according to documents, CCSD says that Candra Evans found a written copy of the monologue a month after the assignment.
“There are no claims that [the student] felt worried, uncomfortable, or worried about performing the monologue for her mother,” CCSD lawyers said.
Then, on May 12, Candra Evans spoke at a meeting of the CCSD Board of Trustees.
Candra Evans told the board, “I’m going to tell you about an assignment my 15-year-old daughter got at a local high school.” “This will be scary for me to read to you, but it will help you understand how she must have felt when her teacher made her memorize and act out this story in front of the whole class.”
The microphone went silent while she was reading the monologue, and she was told to stop talking.
Trustee Evelyn Garcia Morales, who was in charge of the meeting, said, “Thank you for your comment.” “Excuse me, but we’re not using bad language. This is a public meeting, and I’d like everyone to behave.”
Candra Evans asked, “What was it like for my 15-year-old daughter to have to memorize pornographic material if you don’t want me to read it to you?”
Jara then spoke up and said that his government was already working on the assignment. In a video of the meeting, Candra Evans’s words are cut out and her mouth is blurred.
A CCSD trustee who hasn’t been named is said to have called Candra Evans’ public comments a “publicity stunt” and said that a parent group helped Candra Evans prepare for them. Documents show that Candra Evans doesn’t agree with the claim in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit from CCSD said that a group called Power2Parents wrote in a blog post that the vice president of the group “took Candra to that board meeting and helped her figure out how to testify because she had never been to or spoken at a public meeting before.”
Lawyers for the district say that the parents’ claims do not meet a legal standard for injunctive relief and that there was no irreparable harm.
CCSD lawyers also point to a Ninth Circuit ruling that says, in part, “‘an educator can, consistent with the First Amendment, require that a student comply with the terms of an academic assignment,'” and that an educator is not required to “change the assignment to suit the student’s opinion,” adding that the lawsuit does not properly challenge the First and Fourteenth Amendments and Title XI.
The lawsuit, which was first filed in state district court, was moved to federal court.
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