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Published: Thursday, 2/26/2009

Lawsuit claims racism at Washington Schools

A local pastor, who in a lawsuit said he would be announcing his candidacy for Toledo mayor, has filed a complaint against the Washington Local Schools district and an elementary school principal, claiming to be the target of racism.

Clinton Dudley, Sr., filed the suit on his own behalf Monday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. In addition to $5 million in monetary damages, the lawsuit asks for an injunction ordering the school district to ensure constitutional rights for him and his children.

According to the five-page complaint, Mr. Dudley received a letter Jan. 15 from Lynita Bigelow, principal of Hiawatha Elementary, notifying him to call ahead to schedule any visit to the school, including dropping off and picking up his children. The restrictions were put in place in light of Mr. Dudley's disruptive behavior at the school the day before, according to the letter, which accompanied the complaint.

Mr. Dudley said in the suit his three children, ages 11, 9, and 7, had been the victims of racist behavior and bullying at the school, and he been trying to address the matter.

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