An openly gave high school student has filed a federal lawsuit against Indianapolis Public Schools. Darnell “Dynasty” Young, who’s 17, first made headlines last spring after being expelled for bringing a stun gun to school. Young said that he brought the stun gun to school to protect himself against bullies. The new lawsuit, which was filed last Friday by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Kirkland & Ellis, alleges that Indianapolis Public Schools “engaged in discriminatory treatment and fail[ed] to protect Young.
Colorlines.com contributor Rod McCullom offers more details:
Young says classmates at Arsenal Technical HS relentlessly bullied him ever since he and his twin brother arrived in October from Arizona—taunting him, calling him names, following him home and even throwing rocks at him. On 16 April, Young eventually fired a stun gun into the air to scare off a group of six kids who used gay slurs and threatened to attack him. Young was suspended and remained out of school until his expulsion on 8 May.
Young and his mother said they told the school about the bullying “more than 10 times”—but the school only formally investigated one complaint. The stun gun was given to him by his mother, who says school authorities were not helpful and told Darnell to “tone down” his accessories and mannerisms. Young’s mother is also a party to the lawsuit.
According to NCLR’s press release:
In addition to the physical and emotional harm he experienced as a result of the bullying and the discrimination, Dynasty was unable to complete the spring semester of his 11th-grade year at [Arsenal] Technical High School, and will need to make up any necessary credits to graduate on time in 2013. He has recently enrolled in Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, a charter school not affiliated with IPS, where he is taking extra classes in an effort to try graduate on schedule.
NCLR Senior Staff Attorney Christopher F. Stoll said, “It is outrageous that school officials who were entrusted with their students’ safety and education blamed Dynasty for the abuse he suffered, and eventually expelled him from school, instead of accepting their responsibility to protect him from harm.”
“I want to make sure no other student in the Indianapolis Public Schools ever has to go through the kind of abuse that I went through,” said Young. “I am hoping this will get IPS to start treating kids like me with respect and really do something to protect their students.”
Amid the media coverage last May, Young was attacked at a local shopping mall by a 34-year-old man who recognized him from news accounts. The older man was ultimately with misdemeanor battery.