The gay teenager from Indianapolis who had been expelled from school for taking a stun-gun to school for protection from the homophobic bullies that had plagued his school days, is now suing the public school system for failing to protect him from bullying.
Darnell Young, 17, and his mother Chelisa Grimes, filed the lawsuit on Friday in Indianapolis, seeking unspecified damages over several recent incidents of bullying. These incidents all lead Darnell Young to fire the stun-gun in school which then resulted in his expulsion from the Tech High School.
Legal representatives working for the family said that Indianapolis Public Schools had failed to protect Darnell Young from homophobic bullying, and that they had discriminated against him for his sexuality. Christopher F. Stoll, from the National Centre for Lesbian Rights, who is working on the case said, “All students should be able to get an education without fearing for their physical safety, and they should be able to rely on school administrators to protect them when abuse does occur.”
In the court papers it tells how Darnell was subject to numerous homophobic taunts, had glass bottles and rocks thrown at him, and was spat at by bullies. “Rather than take effective measures to protect him, school staff told him that he was to blame for the harassment because of his appearance and told him to change his dress and behaviour to conform to stereotypical ideas of masculinity and to be less ‘flamboyant,’”
The documents alleged this was a violation of Young’s First Amendment right to freedom of expression, by trying to change the way he dressed. It also said that IPS had broken the victim’s civil rights, as well as the US constitution, by discriminating against him for being gay.
The message this school was sending out when they failed to act on the homophobic abuse Darnell suffered was that it was ok to treat someone who is different to you with such disgusting aggression and hatred. The school clearly allowed an atmosphere of discrimination and hatred to not only exists but grow from verbal abuse to physical attacks, that alone should be seen as reprehensible and abhorrent.