ARLINGTON, Va. — As the only Black student in his Virginia class, eighth grader Sidney Rousey, Jr. said he was forced to play a game by his substitute teacher that involved picking cotton.
Since the incident, his family claims Sidney has been the target of relentless bullying, including students "wishing death upon him."
His family is now demanding $10 million from Arlington County Public Schools as compensation for what happened to the middle school student.
On Feb. 8, Sidney Rousey Jr. says he was pressured by his substitute teacher at Gunston Middle School in Arlington, Virginia to play a game called "nose dive."
The game requires participants to put Vaseline on their noses and bob for cotton balls, one at a time.
According to a letter from the family, no one volunteered to play the game and all the students turned their attention to the lone Black student in the class, Sidney.
Sidney was then coerced into participating out of fear, the family says.
The letter states Sidney has since been pulled from that class to learn independently.
His family says he has been ostracized and isolated at no fault of his own.
"GMS continues to treat Sidney as if he engaged in wrongdoing; the administration laid the foundation, and the school community has followed suit," the settlement letter stated. "Arlington and APS was not created on a pillar of inclusivity; it, like school districts throughout the Commonwealth, has a history of racial injustice."
The letter claims the school failed to recognize how the activity could be construed as racist.
"Despite this nation's history of trafficking in and profiteering from the forced labor of enslaved people first brought to the Commonwealth on the White Lion, APS seemingly fails to recognize the historical trauma triggered by activities that include cotton as a focal point."
Sidney’s family is now demanding Arlington County Public Schools pay $10 million.
They claim this isn't the first instance of racist behavior within the school system, detailing other incidents within the letter.
WUSA9 reached out to Arlington Public Schools but the school district declined to comment.
>Read the full demand letter below:
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