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Monday, June 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Parents Say School Ridiculed Gay Student

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (CN) - Indian River Central School District not only let a student suffer years of anti-gay assaults and harassment, its staff joined in, his parents say. Indian River High School staff members ridiculed him "with stereotypically gestures in front of other students," told him he was "disgusting" and "shouldn't be gay," and the principal "responded to the abuse by blaming the victim, telling (him), for example, to 'tone it down,'" and told his parents "that their son's safety on campus could not be guaranteed," according to the 50-age federal complaint.

The parents say that principal, James Kettrick, was promoted to superintendent, that he refused to allow teachers to be trained to prevent this, and that after the bullied student withdrew to escape the violence his harassment, his sister tried to form a gay-straight student alliance, administrators repeatedly refused to let her do it, and that "the reason they gave was that they believed that other students and parents in the community would not approve of such a group."

The parents demand punitive damages and an injunction on 14 claims. They are represented by with the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund of Manhattan, and by Kirkland & Ellis.

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