By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com July 11 2013 1:58 PM ET
An openly gay teenager who was expelled for bringing a personal alarm device to protect himself from bullies who relentlessly tormented him settled with the Indianapolis Public School district for $65,000, reports Indiana's Fox59. The expulsion will also be scrubbed from the student's record.
Dynasty Young, 18, recently graduated from the charter Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, after he was expelled from Arsenal Technical High School in 2012. Alleging that the Indianapolis Public School District failed to protect Young after he reported repeated incidents of antigay and gender-based harassment, the student and his mother filed suit against the district last August.
"I am glad that we were able to resolve this case and that IPS was willing to take the steps needed to help me get my life back on track,” Young said in a statement today. "Things are starting to fall back into place for me. I am really looking forward to working with school districts to meet their obligations under Indiana’s new anti-bullying law and being a resource for students who have experienced bullying."
Young transferred to Arsenal Technical High School during the 2011-2012 school year as a junior, after a largely positive high school experience in Arizona. Young says he was repeatedly harassed, spat upon, and subjected to other abuse at the Indiana public school — and when he informed school administrators about the harassment, they told him he was bringing the trouble on himself by being "too flamboyant," according to Fox. Administrators allegedly told Young that he should dress in a more typically masculine fashion to thwart the abuse.
Afraid for her son's safety, Young's mother, Chelisa Grimes, equipped her child with a personal alarm device to defend himself. When Young was surrounded by six students who threatened him last April 6, he set off the device, successfully preventing the attack, according to the Associated Press. But rather than punishing the students who threatened him, school officials expelled Young. Although the school eventually reduced the expulsion, Young was informed he would not be allowed to return to Arsenal Tech, and must instead attend an alternative school where the lawsuit said "his educational opportunities would be significantly limited." Young decided instead to enroll in Metropolitan High, a charter school, from where he graduated this spring.
Young's story attracted national attention, and helped lead to the creation of comprehensive antibullying policies that were enacted by the Indiana legislature earlier this year. Young says he plans to use the settlement money for college, and will continue speaking out against bullying.