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School District Settles with Lesbian Student

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I loved this story from the Associated Press recently - a school district in CA has agreed to settle a lawsuit (before any litigation) by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a lesbian student who was harassed at her public school.

The teen alleges that during her sophomore year she was required to attend a counseling group for gay students - my first thought was how cool that a public school even has a [support] group for GLBQQ students - although the required part annoyed me - but read on - the counselor running the group was trying to persuade the teens that they had chosen their sexual orientation, and could therefore choose the "better" one.

OMG! CA has laws to protect youth from harassment like this - but usually it is other kids we are protecting the youth from, not the staff. This student alleges that staff at school would ask her if she was a girl or a boy, kept her out of the girls locker room, and told her she would get HIV from being gay.

The student, who came out as a lesbian when she was 13 was depressed, avoided school and was not completing her work - duh - until she transferred to another school. Before the suit was filed, her mother had sent several letters and talked to the school, without the issue being resolved.

The school has settled to avoid the lawsuit and in addition to giving the teen $25k, they will institute mandatory training to stop discrimination against GLBQQ people. The student said "I just want people to see that they can stand up for their rights and who they are and be who they want to be. Don't let anybody put you down."

Sometimes I am just amazed - not to mention heart broken - that on top of being a teenager, GLBQQ kids have to tolerate the closed mindedness and ignorance of adults! Thank goodness this one teenage girl seems to be a fighter!
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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