Wisconsin District Settles Suit Over Harassment Of Student

BARABOO, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin school district has settled a lawsuit brought by one of its former students who said the district ignored years of complaints by her and her mother about multiple sexual assaults and a pattern of racial discrimination.

The Baraboo School District earlier this month agreed to pay Dasia Banks, 18, and her legal team $862,500, according to documents reviewed by the Wisconsin State Journal confirming the settlement.

“It’s like a wake-up call to other schools, especially (those) that are in smaller towns, to make changes and educate themselves because the world is getting more diverse,” Banks said in an interview Monday. “I want to move on from Baraboo but I want to use my story and my voice to help people going through a similar situation who don’t have anyone to talk to or relate to with that.”

Banks moved to Madison with her mother in 2019 and graduated from Madison East High School earlier this year.

A Baraboo School District spokesperson declined to comment beyond confirming “the matter has been resolved.” The documents show the district did not admit liability in the case.

The lawsuit filed in early 2020 outlined a pattern of racist taunts and harassment directed at Banks by other students beginning in first grade, when she was teased about the texture of her hair and skin color, and continuing on through her freshman year. It was in her freshman year when a male classmate who staff knew had been sexually harassing and abusing other students began sexually assaulting Banks, the suit said. The boy was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and received probation.

The complaint also alleges administrators tolerated students flying or wearing items depicting the Confederate flag.

The Baraboo School District, which educates about 3,000 students an hour north of Madison, is overwhelmingly white. About 10% of students identify as Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or biracial.