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Local News

Providence school reaches settlement with expelled student, father

NEW LENOX – A settlement was reached in a case over a white student from Providence Catholic High School who was expelled over allegations of playing a racist song at a black student. 

The expelled student and his father had sued Providence officials and the Diocese of Joliet, claiming he was wrongfully expelled last March and sought to have him reinstated at the school or receive $4,600 in tuition costs and $1 million in damages. 

The parties reached a settlement and the case was dismissed Friday, according to Will County court records. 

Messages sent to the Diocese of Joliet spokesman Edward Flavin and Steven Glink, attorney for the expelled student and father, were not immediately returned Friday.

Both parties met in court May 12 over a scheduling conflict and Will County Judge John Anderson held a settlement conference. 

The student and his father – named John Doe and John Doe 2 in the lawsuit – alleged the student was removed from school without a meaningful disciplinary hearing and that his expulsion on March 17 was a “political response” to a WGN-TV story on the incident. 

The lawsuit also alleged that the song that was played to the son of Tianna Waits – the mother of the black student – was arguably criticizing racism. Waits had pulled her son out of school over the incident, saying he had experienced bullying and racism during his freshmen year. 

Waits has said she was upset by how many times she had to address school officials about the treatment of her son, whom she declined to name. She said she felt action was only taken after her case made the news. 

The Rev. Richard McGrath, president of Providence, said when the school became aware of the incident where a student allegedly played a racist song to Waits’ son, they investigated it, suspended the student and performed a due process discipline hearing that led to him being expelled. 

The parents of the expelled student have declined to disclose their name or their son’s name, saying their son has faced threats.

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