On August 18, 2009, the plaintiff, a high school student verbally and physically harassed due to his sex and sexual orientation brought suit against Mohawk Central School District in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (The Honorable David N. Hurd). The plaintiff, ...
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On August 18, 2009, the plaintiff, a high school student verbally and physically harassed due to his sex and sexual orientation brought suit against Mohawk Central School District in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York (The Honorable David N. Hurd). The plaintiff, represented by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the New York Civil Liberties Union, alleged denial of equal protection on the basis of sex and sexual orientation in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; discrimination based on sex and sexual orientation and negligent supervision under New York state law; and sex discrimination in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. Based on these claims, the plaintiff requested a declaratory judgment, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, attorneys' fees and costs, and compensatory, punitive, and statutory damages.
The plaintiff claimed that from 2007 to 2009, he suffered physical and emotional harms due to the defendant's deliberate indifference to a pattern of severe, persistent, and violent harassment of the plaintiff at the hands of fellow students based on his sex and sexual orientation. These physical and emotional harms also affected the plaintiff's ability to learn and caused him to leave school for two weeks at the end of the 2009 school year. The plaintiff and his parents informed school administrators and teachers of the harassment on many separate occasions, but no effective measures were taken by the school to remedy the situation.
On August 19, 2009, the plaintiff moved for a preliminary injunction. The Court issued a consent order granting the preliminary injunction on August 27, ordering the defendant to immediately put in place a number of safeguards to protect the plaintiff and to comply with school sexual harassment policies.
The United States (U.S. Attorney's Office) moved to intervene on behalf of the plaintiff in the action on January 14, 2010. The court denied the motion on March 29, 2010 as it granted the parties' stipulation and settlement agreement. Under the agreement, the defendant was required to pay the plaintiff $50,000 in addition to attorney's fees and costs ($25,000) and the cost of obtaining counseling services up until June 30, 2013. The agreement also required that the defendant retain an expert to review the defendant's policies and practices regarding discrimination and harassment, to review these procedures themselves, and to record compliance with harassment and discrimination complaints.
The case was dismissed with prejudice on April 27, 2010. Stella Cernak - 03/15/2014