17-year-old filing lawsuit against Baraboo school district comes forward about her allegations

Dasia Banks said she hopes her lawsuit can serve as an eye-opener for the district to know that what they are "doing is not OK."

BARABOO, Wis. — Seventeen-year-old Dasia Banks opened up in an interview with News 3 Now about the lawsuit she has filed against the Baraboo School District.

Banks claims in the lawsuit that there was a “deliberate indifference and failure to respond to multiple acts of racial harassment and discrimination by both students and staff at the Baraboo School District.”

Banks said in an interview, “What Baraboo is doing is not OK.”

Banks said she felt unwelcome in the Baraboo School District since the first grade.

“Being told I couldn’t play with people because of my hair or the color of my skin, I thought there was something wrong with me,” she said.

She said she was 7 years old when the harassment started.

“Every time an issue occurred, I would go and tell a principal,” Banks said. “I would tell them what happened and they told me that they would handle it. But it continued to happen so I felt as though they weren’t doing anything.”

Banks said the problems continued for the next eight years.

Banks said as the harassment continued, her grades started to fall. She said she was once an honor-roll student and her grades never recovered because she became easily distracted, her anxiety got worse and she started skipping school because she didn’t feel safe or comfortable being there anymore.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday, she details how she was harassed and bullied for the color of her skin, was called the “n-word” on numerous occasions, was called a “cotton picker” at one point and experienced numerous cases of being sexually harassed by other students.

“One person would help stick up for me, but because of that, she also got harassed,” Banks said.

Banks is hoping that her lawsuit can open the door for the administration to push for more education on being culturally sensitive and that sexual harassment of any kind will be dealt with appropriately.

“It doesn’t feel right,” Banks said. “I was born there and it is heartbreaking not being able to go to what should be your home and not feel like home.”

Superintendent Lori Mueller said in a statement Thursday: “At this time, the School District of Baraboo has not been served a lawsuit.  If the District receives one, we would not comment without reviewing and seeking advice from legal counsel.”