DOJ files civil rights suit against school over LGBT harassment

This is good.  From Chris Geidner at Metro Weekly:

Noting specific examples of discriminatory treatment faced by 10 students in the district, DOJ’s investigation, according to today’s filing, concluded, “The school and District officials with authority to address the sex-based harassment knew or should have known about the harassment [the students] experienced.

“Often, District personnel ignored these sex-based harassment allegations,” DOJ lawyers wrote in the complaint, which was signed by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, the head of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. “In those instances when the District did respond to reports of sex-based harassment, the District’s response improperly placed the burden of stopping the harassment on the student being harassed. … The District knew its responses to sex-based harassment were inadequate because the harassment continued and in certain instances escalated.

“In sum, students in the District experienced and reported verbal and physical sex-based harassment because of their gender nonconformity. … Based on this evidence, a hostile environment based on sex exists in the Anoka-Hennepin School District, the District knew or should have known about the hostile environment, and the District has failed to address it,” the complaint stated.

To end the lawsuits, the Anoka-Hennepin School District has agreed to take significant action to prevent harassment of students who are or are perceived to be LGBT or gender non-conforming, as well as those who have friends or parents who are LGBT, under the terms of a proposed court agreement announced tonight by DOJ and the plaintiffs of the two additional lawsuits that were previously filed against the district by students.

The agreement reached by six students in the Anoka-Hennepin School District who had filed two federal lawsuits accusing the district of gender-based and sexual orientation-based harrassment, along with DOJ and the school district, would put in place a federal government-supervised five-year consent decree requiring the district to take the actions to improve the atmosphere for the students and others like them.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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