A gay-rights advocacy organization filed a complaint against Perry Township schools Thursday, August 29, on behalf of a Southport High School Student who was beaten by classmates because he was gay, according to the Indianapolis Star.
GetEqual IN, the group leading the action, said this suit has been filed because the teen has been denied “access to a hostile-free education,” and a complaint was filed with the Indianapolis Office of Equal Opportunity yesterday.
The teen’s mother, Sunshyn Reffett, told the Indianapolis Star, that her son was being taunted because of his sexuality. She said that on August 15, the student who was harassing her sun chocked him while on a school bus.
The school’s principal, Barbara Brower, told the Indianapolis Star that an investigation into the matter showed that Reffett’s son actually started the fight by using a racial slur against the other student who then responded with a gay slur. Both students were suspended and are assigned to separate buses to avoid further incidents.
Reffett told the Indianaapolis Star that she was unaware of the complaint before now but is relieved. Her son, she says, has been afraid to leave the home for fear of being bullied due to his sexuality.
“He’s afraid for his life at school. Emotionally, he is very distressed and can’t focus,” Reffett said. “We’re looking at getting him some counseling.”
“It’s awesome to hear that someone is standing up not just for my son but for all students,” Reffett told the Indianapolis Star. “All I can do is say thank you.”
The complaint filed asks for bullying to end, specifically asking that the schools have an “effective anti-bullying prevention program” in place to avoid incidents such as this one. Once a complaint has been filed, an investigation is then done to determine whether the bullying or discrimination occurred in most cases.
As of July 1, 2013, an Indiana law took effect that requires teachers to report bullying incidents to school administrators and requires administrators to report any incidents of bullying to parents.