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Settlement Reached in North Bend Anti-Gay Bullying Case; District Responds
A settlement has been reached between the North Bend School District and the American Civil Liberties Union in the case on behalf of current and former North Bend High School students Liv Funk and Hailey Smith. In a press release issued by ACLU, the students reportedly endured anti-gay harassment by students and staff. In the settlement, Principal Bill Lucero was removed from his administrative position. The school district is also required to ask the North Bend Police Department to remove School Resource Officer Jason Griggs or provide a new police officer to function as the school police officer. The students reportedly filed a complaint in 2016 and then appealed to the Oregon Department of Education. A months-long investigation by ODE found evidence of severe bullying at the school that was ignored by administrators and other violations of state and federal laws. In addition to removal of the principal, the school district will work with the ACLU Foundation of Oregon to develop policies and training to prevent future discrimination. The district will remain under Oregon Department of Education supervision for five years.
Meanwhile, the North Bend School District has announced it was pleased to have reached a resolution of complaints by students Liv Funk and Hailey Smith. In a release on social media, district officials stated they will continue to be committed to improving its school environment for all students, including LGBTQ students. The district intends on improving its complaint reporting procedures and staff training to prevent bullying and harassment from occurring. It also pledged to immediately stop it if it does occur. District officials also said the agreement puts concrete processes in place in partnership with the ACLU and the Oregon Department of Education.