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Connecticut School District Settles Lawsuit Over Kendrick Lamar's "Alright" Video

By Nina Richards | Posted on June 7, 2024

Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File via CT Insider

Photo Source: Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File via CT Insider

A Connecticut school district has reached a settlement in a lawsuit concerning the use of Kendrick Lamar's 2015 track "Alright" in a classroom setting. The $100,000 settlement, approved by Vernon council members, addresses claims made by a student's family regarding emotional distress caused by the music video shown during a social studies class at Vernon Center Middle School.

As reported by Complex, the incident dates back to 2020 when an eighth-grade teacher played the documentary "Hip Hop: Songs That Shook America," which included the "Alright" music video. The black-and-white video, directed by Colin Tilley and The Little Homies, features a scene where a white police officer makes a gun gesture towards Lamar, followed by a gunshot sound and Lamar falling. The video, known for its powerful commentary on police brutality, became an anthem at protests and won two Grammy Awards in 2016.

The lawsuit claims that the student, whose father is a police officer and is reported to be diagnosed with a learning disability, experienced significant emotional distress after viewing the video. The distress reportedly manifested as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and social withdrawal, ultimately necessitating the student's transfer to another school. The family's lawsuit argued that the teacher was aware of the student's father's profession and the student's existing learning disability, exacerbating the impact of the video's content.

The legal complaint further stated that the video depicted police officers in a negative light, portraying them as “murderers” and including “violent scenes and controversial statements.” This portrayal, according to the suit, caused additional emotional turmoil for the student.

In response to the lawsuit, the school district decided to settle, which is expected to be finalized by the Board of Education in the coming week.

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