School Forced to Pay Student $100,000 for Ignoring Anti-Gay, Racist Bullying
The district reached the settlement with Russell Dickerson III, now 20, who is African American. The ACLU, which represented Dickerson, will receive $35,000 in legal fees.
In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma two years ago, Dickerson said that from 2003 when he entered junior high until 2009 when he graduated high school, other students harassed him on the basis of his race, sex and perceived sexual orientation.
At Miller Junior High, Dickerson said he was called names by other students and found notes in his backpack and taped to his back calling him derogatory names. At Aberdeen High School, the harassment escalated.
He said students tripped him in the hallways and threw food at him in the cafeteria. In one incident, three students pushed him to the floor in the hallway and smashed a raw egg on his head; only one of the students was disciplined.
Both schools and the school district itself are accused of deliberately allowing Dickerson’s bullies to violently torture him for six years. As public schools receive public funds, this failure to abide federal and state anti-discrimination laws was not only morally reprehensible – it was also illegal.
While we’re pleased to see Dickerson receive a hefty sum for the pain he endured, it brings us little satisfaction to see the schools and individual adults responsible for these crimes escape criminal prosecution by settling out of court. Only when teachers and principals go to jail for allowing LGBT children to be tortured in their schools will all of this nonsense come to an end.
(via Seattle Times)