Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A federal judge today approved a settlement that includes a series of reforms for the Mohawk Central School District in a gay student’s harassment lawsuit.
As part of the settlement, the school district agreed to the following:
Working with the Anti-Defamation League and to hold staff training on appropriate ways to address issues of harassment;
Reviewing its policies and procedures governing harassment based on sex, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation;
Reporting to the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Department of Justice on these efforts as well as its ongoing response to complaints of discrimination and harassment.
The New York Civil Liberties Union sued the school district in August on behalf of a student who alleged that he was repeatedly harassed, threatened and physically assaulted at school for being gay and not conforming to gender stereotypes. The civil rights lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, maintained that district officials were aware of the bullying and did nothing to stop it. The school district denied the allegations in the complaint.
The student, identified by his attorney’s only as Jacob. was entering the ninth grade at Gregory B. Jarvis Junior/Senior High School when the lawsuit was filed earlier this school year. He has since transferred to a high school in another district.
The lawsuit drew the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice, which filed a motion to intervene in the case on Jacob’s behalf. That motion was pending when settlement negotiations commenced.
Under the settlement, Jacob has agreed to dismiss the lawsuit against the school district and its employees, and the Justice Department agreed to withdraw its motion to intervene.

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