News - September 1996

Homophobic school cited in new lawsuit

Lawyers for an Illinois high school say administrators cannot be blamed for an anti-gay atmosphere that was so severe two students found it necessary to drop out and are suing the school for $1 million.

Two former students, identified in court records as Mario Doe and John Doe, claim teachers and administrators at the Riverside-Brookfield Township High School in the Chicago suburb of Riverside did nothing to prevent a host of anti-gay incidents that forced the boys to drop out of school.

In addition, the suit claims that after John Doe confided his homosexuality to a school counselor, the counselor gave that information to the boy's father.

Mario Doe claims the same counselor advised him to learn karate to defend himself against anti-gay assaults in school.

Lawyers for the school claim state law grants school officials immunity from blame for the actions of others. But the lawyer for the boys has argued that the Illinois School Code gives teachers and administrators both the authority and the responsibility for maintaining discipline in schools.

[This story initially reported by PGN. Reprinted without permission.]

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