According to an article published by 365gay.com News, a straight teenager who was subjected to homophobic bullying throughout his schooling has been awarded $440,000 and won his lawsuit against the schools.
Dylan Theno, 18, who has testified he is straight, sued the school district in May 2004, claiming that he was subjected to abuse from seventh grade until he quit school in his junior year.
According to the article:
“I expect this case will have profound effects nationwide in dealing with schoolyard bullying and harassment,” said Benson. “Insurance companies will have a very powerful economic incentive to see that districts’ anti-harassment policies are aggressive and effective.”
Theno, who recently earned his GED and attends a vocational technical school in Kansas City, Kan., said he was surprised by the settlement.
“I feel great,” he said. “I mean, you have all that lifted off your shoulders at once. The school district has finally been held accountable for their actions.”
Repeated calls to the school district and to the district’s attorney, Steven Pigg, were not immediately returned.
The Theno family’s suit claimed the harassment from other students was so severe and unbearable that Dylan was forced to leave school.
According to the suit, the district enforced its sexual harassment policy when it involved a male student harassing a female student but did nothing when classmates began calling the plaintiff “fag” and “masturbator boy” when he was 12.
The suit also said the harassment denied Theno access to an education because of his gender in a violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972.
I hope, I really hope, that something like this does not need to occur before the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools start to do something to prevent anti-gay harassment and bullying. Can they really afford to dish out hundreds of thousands of dollars in a lawsuit payment? I don’t think so.
This case should go to prove to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education and administrators every where that anti-gay harassment and bullying should not be tolerated in schools and will not be tolerated by the Courts.
Better wise up people… or you’ll have a lawsuit on your hands.