School accused of repeatedly harassing a gay student with special needs – lawsuit says teacher threatened to kill him.
A mother is suing an Oregon school district, claiming a teacher threatened to kill her son, who is a special education student and gay. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, also names five employees, including the teacher, Brett Trosclair, and says her son was subjected to repeated acts of "harassment and discrimination" by school staff.
She's filed a federal First and Fourteenth Amendment lawsuit claiming his constitutional rights were violated. The suit will also test the federal Title IX law, alleging sex discrimination.
The Oregonian reports that in a March assembly last year, her son "told his friend that he thought another student was cute, according to the lawsuit. Trosclair then turned around, the son said, and told the boys to 'shut up.' Then the teacher threatened to kill them and throw them down the stairs, the suit alleges."
“Defendants had an unofficial policy, custom or practice of condoning harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation,” the lawsuit states. “Defendents’ conduct toward Plaintiff was extreme and outrageous and constitutes an extraordinary transgression of the bounds of socially tolerable conduct," it adds.
Dicintio's son, identified in the suit only as "J.D.," and the student he was talking with complained, and the teacher was placed on administrative leave.
The lawsuit details other times Dicintio says school staff engaged in harassment or bullying of her son.
"In May 2014, she alleges, the school's dean of students refused to help the student while he was being verbally and physically assaulted in the lunchroom," the Oregonian reports.
In September 2014, Dicintio alleges, another teacher told her son "to stop being a diva and a priss." After Dicintio complained, the superintendent's executive council reviewed the district's policies on bullying and harassment. The district also offered multiple two-hour trainings so staff could learn about LGBTQ and gender issues to better meet the needs of gay and transgender students.
Still, Dicintio's lawsuit says district officials did not do enough and instead caused her son "emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation, anxiety, stress and fear."
Meanwhile students have rallied around the teacher, who has retuned to the school. They say he was joking, and they've created a Facebook support page for him and on Twitter are using the hashtag #TeamTrosclair to offer support to the teacher.