The Justice Department is stepping in to defend a gay high school student who was bullied for being effeminate.
The department's Civil Rights Division has asked a judge for permission to intervene in the 15-year-old student's lawsuit against Mohawk Central School District, according to National Public Radio. The case hinges on Title IX, the section of the federal civil rights law that bans discrimination on the basis of gender. The Obama administration is claiming that Title IX also covers discrimination based on gender stereotypes.
Jacob, from Mohawk, N.Y., says he was harassed even before he came out at 14. His classmates at Gregory B. Jarvis Junior/Senior High School told him to get a sex change and would throw food at him. He has been threatened at knifepoint and told by a teacher to "hate himself every day until he changed." He also severely sprained his ankle after someone pushed him down a flight of stairs.
His father, Robbie Sullivan (who does not share his son's last name), said that he had visited his son's principal multiple times per week to talk about the ongoing incidents, but to no avail. Sullivan, with the backing of the New York Civil Liberties Union, filed suit against the school district in August.