Friday, September 11, 2009

ACLU, School District Settle Harassment and Discrimination Case

The Newport-Mesa School District in Orange County, California, has agreed to implement harassment and discrimination training for its students and staff, in settlement of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU. As we noted last March, the ACLU sued the school district on behalf of a former student of Corona del Mar High School, who alleged that school officials did not respond adequately when three football players harassed her and threatened her with rape. These threats apparently related to the student's role in the drama club's intended production of Rent, which the principal canceled (but later reinstated) due to the concerns about the show's gay and AIDS-related content.

Under the settlement terms, students and teachers will receive four hours of training, conducted by the Anti-Defamation League, about what constitutes harassment and how it harms people. District officials will receive 8 hours of training. A district spokesperson believes that the training "will raise awareness for staff and students and will contribute to an overall positive environment at Corona del Mar High School." The student plaintiff, Hail Ketchum, also praised the outcome, saying "no one else will have to go through what I went through."