Student Suspended Over Yearbook Captions

LYNDHURST, Ohio (AP) - A student has been suspended for putting derogatory captions in a high school yearbook, including identifying a black student as "blacky" in a cross country team photo.

The Brush High School junior identified seven other students in the cross country photo and a tennis team photo as "weirdo" and other degrading names, South Euclid-Lyndhurst Schools Superintendent William Zelei said.

"We have a number of people on the yearbook staff who are appalled. We have a number of students who have been embarrassed," Zelei said, adding that he is considering expulsion for the student.

The student filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the school district in U.S. District Court in Cleveland. He is seeking a revocation of his suspension and $100,000 in damages, claiming he never intended for the names to be published.

The suit states that the student created fictitious names for students in the photos whose names he did not know so he could later identify them and enter the correct names. He relied on another student's statement that the names were corrected, according to the lawsuit.

It also accuses yearbook adviser Hadley Conner of approving the yearbook's sports pages without reviewing them.

About one-third of the school's 700 yearbooks were distributed last week. The school is correcting those that were not yet distributed and recalling the others for correction.

Zelei said the school is investigating how the derogatory terms made it into the yearbook.

"It's a beautiful yearbook. Unfortunately, someone did something that was inappropriate," Zelei said. "Our editing process didn't catch it."

Brush High School has a black population of about 30 percent, the superintendent said.

"We're a diverse community. We are proud of our diversity," he said. "We're not going to tolerate this type of behavior. It doesn't reflect our greater community."

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)