Bullard High football coach suing Fresno Unified trustee who says he used racial slur

Longtime Bullard High football coach Don Arax has filed a defamation lawsuit against Fresno Unified School District and board trustee Keshia Thomas over her allegations he used a racial slur against her son.

According to Arax’s suit, Thomas made those remarks during the May 17 broadcast of the GV Wire online talk show “Unfiltered.” Thomas was on the program to talk about racism at Bullard High School and within Fresno Unified.

The discussion followed an incident at Bullard High where three students were disciplined for their involvement in posting an image online of a student wearing something resembling a Ku Klux Klan hood over his head.

Thomas told the show’s host Darius Assemi, president and CEO of Granville Homes, that her middle son experienced being called the n-word by Arax during a football event.

When Assemi asked her to clarify who she was referring to, Thomas replied, “Yeah. He’s the football coach at Bullard,” according to the lawsuit.

Arax denies saying the racial slur. Furthermore, he says Thomas’s allegations have damaged his reputation and subjected him to “contempt, ridicule, and/or shame,” according to the lawsuit.

He is seeking damages, including punitive damages to be determined by a jury. His attorney is Brian D. Whelan.

Thomas could not be reached for comment Friday.

There were indications Arax intended to eventually sue back in June, when he filed a claim against the district.