A 14-year-old gay student who is attending the Gregory B. Jarvis Junior, Senior High School in Herkimer, New York, has worked out an agreement with the school to ensure that administrators provide him with protection. The student has filed a lawsuit against the school district and the administrators for failing to provide him with adequate protection in the past. This is according to the New York Civil Liberties Union.
The lawsuit alleges that the student has been relentlessly abused through verbal and physical abuse, which reached even higher levels when another student brought a knife to school and made a death threat to the student during the final quarter of the school year.
A federal judge is requiring the Mohawk Central School District, to provide emergency relief to the student’s need for safety within the school district. The lawsuit is still ongoing, and this measure to provide emergency relief does not in any way stop the pending suit. The lawsuit is seeking punitive damages to be paid by the school district as well as changes to the schools anti harassment policies.
According to the school district, many of the demanded safety changes requested by the student and federal judge were already being provided the following year and were being done so because they were warranted.
The specific safety measures being put in place are not being fully disclosed. There were exceptions to some school policies such as allowing the student to keep his cell phone on him to call home if there was a reason to feel unsafe. There was also a safe room established for the student to use if he felt threatened. The student claims that at least ten times he was forbidden from texting his father and two times from using the safe room when he felt threatened, last year.
The lawsuit charges that the school district failed to provide adequate measures for the student’s needs, and that the school district failed to provide proper investigation of the harassment, and failed to discipline students or inform parents of their rights to fight complaints.
If you are a school administrator with a question about student/teacher safety, special education, accommodations, student rights, free speech or discipline, feel free to call Richard Oppenheim at 818-461-8500. There is never a charge for an initial consultation and we can help you choose the best direction to resolve any school district issue.