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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:During a full-contact high school football practice on Sept. 14, 1999, in Columbus, Miss., a white player allegedly stuck both of his hands through a black player’s helmet and poked his eye, causing permanent injury. On Jan. 8, 2001, the black player’s mother filed a civil rights, 42 U.S.C. �1983, lawsuit against the school district, the superintendent, the coaches and the school principal. She said the incident was racially motivated and that all the defendants conspired to deprive her son of his due process and equal protection rights. She also raised state-law claims of negligence and intentional torts, and on Feb. 2, 2001, she amended her complaint to include the white player as a defendant. She claimed that the coach used racial epithets against the black player, and made comments about his weight; the white player, the mother said, imitated the coach and used the same derogatory statements. She also said the white player hit her son on the helmet with a rock and slapped him in the head. The eye-gouging incident occurred, she said, in retaliation for a block her son made against the white player in the previous play, and it was encouraged by the coach. Her claims against the school officials stemmed from the fact that a school investigation concluded there had been no wrongdoing and that the school refused to pay any of her son’s medical bills. The district court dismissed the white player as a defendant, saying there was no state action on his part for the �1983 claim, and that the one-year statute of limitations for intentional torts had expired on the state-law claim. The district court granted summary judgment for the remaining defendants due to the lack of a special relationship between the defendants and the mother. The mother, Eve Priester, appeals. She argues the district court should have applied the three-year statute of limitations for negligence, rather than the one-year period for intentional torts in dismissing the white player. She also questions the dismissal of the school officials, arguing that they owed her son a duty to protect him from violence during a school activity. HOLDING:Affirmed. The use of the one-year statute of limitations period was correct, the court said, because it is clear from the pleadings that Priester was alleging intentional conduct by the white player. The complaint stated that the player “put both of his hands through Priester’s helmet and planted his finger in Terry Priester’s eye and pulled it as hard as he could.” Additionally, there can be no �1983 against a private citizen except with a conspiracy is alleged, however, Priester did not plead the elements of a conspiracy claim in relation to the claims against the white player. Characterizing Priester’s claim as being grounded in substantive due process, the court confirms that her son suffered harm to his property (his “bodily integrity), but disagrees that the harm was caused by the state action of the school officials. As a general failure, the state’s failure to protect someone from private violence does not violate the Due Process Clause, and Priester cannot establish that one of the certain limited circumstances to this general rule existed. One of those limited circumstances is when there is a special relationship between the state and the plaintiff, but this exception has been narrowly construed, the court explains. Here, Priester’s son’s injuries occurred after regular school hours, during football practice, which is a voluntary extracurricular activity, not one compelled by the school officials. “Therefore, because no special relationship exists between a school district and its students during a school-sponsored football practice held outside of the time during which students are required to attend school for non-voluntary activities, the district court did not err in finding no requisite state action under �1983. The court also rejects Priester’s “fair attribution argument, which she bases on the school officials’ implicit endorsement of the conspiracy between allegation that the school officials in which the plaintiff must show: 1. that the deprivation was caused by the exercise of some right or privilege created by the state or by a rule of conduct imposed by the state, or by a person for whom the state is responsible; and 2. that the party charged with the deprivation may fairly be said to be a state actor. But because Priester does not present any evidence of the content of any conversations between the coach and the white player, or of an actual agreement, the predicate conspiracy is lacking. The court then holds that the use of racial epithets by itself will not support a claim for a equal protection violation. The court acknowledges that the school may not have responded adequately to the football practice incident, there is other evidence to show that the school consistently followed-up on the twice-weekly complaints of other alleged incidents of harassment Priester made throughout the school year. Moreover, Priester presented no evidence that the alleged racial harassment went unpunished while other types of misconduct was punished or that the school did not document the racial harassment in its records. Finally, the court affirms the district court’s decision to dismiss the state-law claims against the school officials without prejudice. OPINION:Stewart, J.; Higginbotham, Stewart and Prado, JJ.

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