[Colo.] School District 11 has agreed to settle a
lawsuit filed on behalf of students by the American Civil
Liberties Union after the Gay-Straight Alliance group
was denied certain privileges at Palmer High School.
The school board approved the settlement Monday
on a 6-1 vote. The district will pay $90,000 in
attorney fees and fully recognize the alliance and
other student groups not directly related to the school
curriculum. Alfred McDonnell, the students' lawyer, said he
was pleased with the settlement because it gives the
club the same rights as others.
District lawyer Eric Bentley said the district
didn't believe it discriminated against the students
but decided to settle because the lawsuit was
financially draining. "The district defended the case all
that time because it believed in the policy," he said. "It's
simply become extremely expensive."
Palmer High School had created a two-track
system for student groups. Groups deemed to be related
to the curriculum were allowed to use the public
address system and post notices. Organizations deemed to
have no direct connection to
curriculum--including the Gay-Straight
Alliance--could meet at the school but not use
the P.A. system or post notices.
The federal lawsuit was filed in 2003, arguing
that the policy was discriminatory and that other
clubs not related to the school curriculum, such as
the Mountain Biking Club, were given more privileges. (AP)