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Gay student settles with school system over claims of harassment

July 10, 2013

A gay Indianapolis high school student who was expelled last year for using a device that emits an electric charge to defend himself from bullies has settled his lawsuit against Indianapolis Public Schools for failing to protect him.

Dynasty Young, whose legal name is Darnell Young, sued the school district, superintendent and others after he claims officials failed to address eight months of harassment he experienced at Arsenal Tech High School because he is gay and doesn’t conform to gender stereotypes. In April 2012, he pulled out a “self-protection flashlight” given to him by his mother to deter students who attempted to attack him. He activated it, but did not strike anyone with it. The device emits light, a loud noise and an electric charge.

As a result of the incident, he was expelled. He sued IPS in August 2012 challenging the expulsion and school administrators' failure to address the harassment. He enrolled in a charter school and graduated this year.

As part of the agreed judgment, IPS will expunge the expulsion from Young’s school records, and he will receive $65,000 as compensation, which includes all of Young’s claimed damages, costs and attorney fees. According to court documents, the parties anticipate IPS’ insurance carrier will pay for the judgment. He plans on using the money for his education, according to a release from Young’s attorneys, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Chicago firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Indianapolis firm Waples & Hanger.
 
Kightlinger & Gray LLP represented IPS.

The judgment still must be approved by the federal court in Indianapolis.

 

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