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Nakamura files racial discrimination, retaliation claim against SUSD

Former Amos Alonzo Stagg High School Principal Benjamin Nakamura, who was escorted off campus after his graduation speech earlier this year, has filed a claim against Stockton Unified School District for “injuries sustained during his employment” at the district. 

The tort claim document further cites Nakamura was racially discriminated and retaliated against by Stockton Unified, seeking damages in excess of $25,000. 

In the process of filing lawsuits, filing a claim at the district level “is an administrative process that we need to go through, this is an old rule that you have to meet,” said Nakamura’s attorney, Waukeen McCoy. 

McCoy was waiting for direction from Nakamura on Wednesday afternoon, “but would advise to file a lawsuit,” he said. 

The district published the claim file in their agenda for their Aug. 10 meeting (point 2.6). Under closed session point 2.5, Nakamura’s last name is listed among other legal cases against the school district. 

The Board of Trustees started their closed session meeting at 5:10 p.m. and finished at 5:45 p.m. A minute later, they reached agenda point 4.2, a public “announcement of action taken in closed session, if any.” 

The board voted 6-1, “with Trustee Flores voting no to deny the claim of Ben Nakamura,” stated board Vice President Maria Mendez.  

Stagg High School Principal Ben Nakamura made national headlines when he was escorted off campus after his graduation speech earlier this year.

What the claim states – and what denying it means 

Tort law aims to “provide relief to injured parties for harms caused by others, to impose liability on parties responsible for the harm, and to deter others from committing harmful acts,” summarized Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute.  

In California, “before an individual can bring a lawsuit against a public entity like a school district, the individual is required to submit a claim,” to the district, Stockton Unified’s legal counsel stated via email through the district’s director of communications Melinda Meza.