New Lawsuit Alleges Injustices and Prejudices at the International School of Los Angeles (LILA)

New Lawsuit Alleges Injustices and Prejudices at the International School of Los Angeles (LILA)

Feb 15, 2024

Los Angeles, California – The International School of Los Angeles (LILA), a French-language school (K-12) that purports to promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), abruptly disenrolled bi-racial French-American siblings during their 4th and 5th grade years, after one sister, “Jane Doe,” filed a lawsuit against LILA for discrimination and harassment. According to their lawyer, Shanon Dawn Trygstad, “LILA’s action against these two children underscores allegations of LILA’s indifference to racially based bullying against one sister and its perpetuation of racist stereotypes about Blacks/African-Americans within its curriculum that endorses and reinforces racist stereotypes about Blacks/African-Americans, thus fostering a hostile and discriminatory learning environment.”

The lawsuit alleges a troubling pattern of racially charged incidents at LILA. In one particular incident, a 4th-grade Caucasian student drew a picture of Jane Doe and her African-American classmate being lynched with chains. The lawsuit alleges, LILA failed to promptly address the incident, delayed informing the affected parents, and issued what the student’s lawyer calls “a biased self-serving incident report eight weeks later downplaying the severity of the incident and the emotional impact on the two girls targeted by the heinous drawing.”

Further underscoring LILA’s failure to address this serious misconduct, the lawsuit states that the student-perpetrator of the hate drawing was praised in subsequent school publications for “moral and civic” values and labeled a “Future Leader,” while facing no consequences for the heinous depiction of two Black/African-American classmates. Jane Doe’s parents’ pleas to LILA were met with silence, according to the lawsuit, in stark contrast to the preferential treatment given to the Caucasian perpetrator-student’s family. The lawsuit also claims that LILA ignored and violated its most basic written policy, which requires a letter of apology for such misconduct.

The lawsuit also alleges that a broader pattern of discriminatory conduct at LILA, including the administration’s endorsement of controversial French colonial materials such as “Tintin in the Congo” bringing into question LILA’s self-described inclusive and equitable environment is mere superficial artifice.

Despite the diligent efforts of “Jane Doe’s” parents to seek a resolution with LILA administration and the Board of Trustees, they encountered resistance. The Board Chair and Vice Chair declined to meet with the sisters’ parents. Instead, upon the lawsuit being filed, LILA disenrolled “Jane Doe” and her sister, who were successful student beneficiaries of scholarships provided by the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles to guarantee LILA’s socio-economic diversity. Jane Doe’s lawyer says that “LILA even continued to use images of the bi-racial sisters for DEI promotional purposes, ostensibly highlighting LILA’s purported diversity.” LILA’s Board disclaimed responsibility or control for the decision to disenroll the children after the lawsuit was initiated.

The legal action, Case No. 23BBCV02852, filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court by attorney Shanon Trygstad alleges discrimination and retaliation under the Unruh Civil Rights Act and related causes of action. The lawsuit seeks redress for the harm inflicted on “Jane Doe,” and her younger sister, including significant emotional and physical distress caused by racist bullying, threats of violence, isolation, and now ejection which has caused the family irreparable financial injury.

This case aims to spotlight the racism and other discriminatory and harassing conduct that persist under the watchful eye of administration at many monied private educational institutions, such as LILA, while they pay lip service to DEI.

For media inquiries regarding Jane Doe’s lawsuit against LILA please contact:

Shanon Dawn Trygstad, Esq.
Trygstad, Schwab & Trygstad, a Professional Law Corporation
6300 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 810
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Telephone: (310) 552-0500


Los Angeles Superior Court of California
Jane Doe, et al. v. The International School of Los Angeles, et al.
Case No. 23BBCV02852

For over fifty years, our law firm, Trygstad, Schwab & Trygstad, has focused on representing individuals involved in public or private primary/secondary schools, community colleges, and 4-year universities, from classified and certificated educators – including teachers and counselors — and site administrators, to students (minors, college and graduate students), superintendents, head coaches, department chairs, and Board members. Some of our representative cases have been against public entities like the Los Angeles Unified School District, UCLA, UC Davis, California State University Long Beach, and Beverly Hills Unified School District, and private entities like the University of Southern California, Bank of America, Live Nation and Amgen. No case is too small, no individual is less entitled to protection, and no opposition is too great to take on.

Trygstad, Schwab & Trygstad, a Professional Law Corporation
6300 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 810
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 552-0500
Press Contact : Shanon Trygstad

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