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Graham v. Guilderland Central School District

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York
256 A.2d 863 (1998)


Elizabeth Graham (plaintiff) was an African American student in the Guilderland Central School District (defendant). Graham’s teacher, John Birchler (defendant), wanted to explain why the term “faggot” should not be used to describe someone who is gay. To illustrate, Birchler said, “why not call Liz a ‘nigger’ because that’s what she is? Liz, why not tell us what it feels like to be called a ‘nigger’?” Graham and her parents brought suit against the school district and Birchler for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court granted the school district’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Graham appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Yesawich, J.)

Dissent (Cardona, J.)

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