By Neal Broverman
Originally published on Advocate.com March 29 2010 6:15 PM ET
A lawsuit brought against the Mohawk Central School District in New York ended with a settlement on Monday, with the district agreeing to protect gay and gender-nonconforming students from harassment.
The settlement includes the school district consenting to numerous policy changes, including increased training for school officials and oversight by the New York Civil Liberties Union, which represented the student involved in the lawsuit. The ninth-grade student at Gregory B. Jarvis Junior/Senior High School (pictured) — who has since transferred to another school in another district — complained to school officials about harassment and discrimination related to his perceived sexual orientation. He claims his complaints went unaddressed by the school district.
Before the settlement was reached, the U.S. Department of Justice took the unlikely step of filing a motion to intervene on the student's behalf, but the DOJ motion was still pending when the settlement was reached. The DOJ will also work with the NYCLU is maintaining oversight of the new policies.
"We applaud the school district for making this commitment to protect all students from bullying and harassment," said NYCLU senior staff attorney Corey Stoughton, in a release. "We look forward to working with district officials and the Department of Justice on implementing these important reforms, and hope that they will inspire other school systems to confront bulying of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender non-conforming students."