Shortly after the Columbine High School massacre, Union Intermediate High School (in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma) was one of many schools around the country increasing security measures to prevent school shootings. Brandi Blackbear wrote horror stories similar to those of Stephen King, dressed in a slightly Gothlike way, and was not afraid to be herself, or to stand up to bullying by popular kids. Her defiance engendered hostility toward her from certain segments of her school's culture. False stories of threats of violence were circulated, and the combination of her writing and authorities' natural hyperawareness following Columbine led to her being suspended. When some of her fellow students later saw her checking out a book on world religions, including Wicca (as research for her stories), they immediately branded her a witch, and eventually accused her of casting a spell that made a teacher sick. Fear of her spread through much of the school, and she was once again suspended.
Finally, her parents went to the ACLU, where they were told they had a good case against the school for violating her civil rights. The ACLU sued the affluent school for $10 million, even though the Blackbears were not sure they deserved that much based on what Brandi had suffered. Still, the ACLU argued that the school wouldn't take any lesser claim seriously. When the school offered a settlement, the Blackbears refused. They were not interested in the money, despite needing it; what they really wanted was to have their story heard in court to inform the public that the school had mistreated Brandi. Unfortunately, the judge ruled to dismiss the charges rather than going to trial, and ordered the Blackbears to pay $6000 in court fees, which they could not afford. Eventually it was agreed to drop the fees if the Blackbears dropped their appeal.
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