A private school in Galveston is using a religious exemption defense to fight a lawsuit brought by the parents of an African American student who say their child was subjected to racial taunts and threats while attending, including receiving “KKK origami” notes given by bullies.

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The case was filed against Trinity Episcopal School, headmaster Reverend David Dearman and the parents of three children back in May.

Attorneys for the school filed court documents on August 1, arguing for dismissal because of their religious status.

First reported by the Galveston County News, court documents state, “As a religious institution, Trinity has a constitutionally protected freedom to make decisions regarding the discipline of its students without judicial interference.”

While the victimized boy attended the school from 2014-2016, he said bullies consistently harassed him:

Among other taunts, the bullies passed him notes folded into the shape of a KKK hood and told him that their parents were part of the organization.

As a result of the ongoing abuse, attorneys say the boy developed depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

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The school says the court can review their discipline decisions regarding the case, but they argue the court cannot make a judgement about those disciplinary decisions because of their religious exemption.

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