OC school settles bias lawsuit

The American Civil Liberties Union said today it’s settled a lawsuit against a school district it said fostered homophobia and sexism among students. KPCC’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez has more.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez: In an online video posted earlier this year three Corona Del Mar High School football players threatened to kill and rape a female classmate and spouted homophobic slurs. A couple of months later the same campus gained notoriety after administrators canceled a student production of the musical Rent, which includes gay characters.

In a lawsuit, the ACLU alleged that school officials largely ignored the threats against the female student and sought monetary damages and reforms from the district. ACLU lawyer Hector Villagra says the Newport Mesa Unified School District has agreed to sponsor bias and hate prevention training for about a dozen administrators as well as employees and all 2,200 students at the school. He says other steps will help change campus culture.

Hector Villagra: The school is going to survey the students to determine what level of bias they experience on a day to day level and that survey is going to inform the school and district officials in what else they need to do in years to come, to address the environment of sexism and homophobia at the school.

Guzman-Lopez: Officials with Newport Mesa Unified could not be reached for comment. School officials had not admitted any wrongdoing. They reportedly said they were settling the allegations before the ACLU filed its lawsuit.

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