Posted By Eric Ethington (Author) on December 7, 2010
Tacoma, Washington – A 19 year old has filed a lawsuit against Aberneen School District for allowing constant and threatening anti-gay harassment against him for 4 years. Despite numerous complaints, the school district did nothing to protect him he says.
Good luck and well done to Russell Dickerson the 3rd! Bullying and harassment for sexual orientation are rampant in our schools and we must hold schools and districts accountable if we ever want to stem the tide of suicides and bullying.
The lawsuit alleges that students belittled Dickerson for years, both verbally and physically, and even created a website mocking him. The best the district ever did? Suggest that he dress more manly to stop the harassment, and recommended he not report the bullying because it might push students to bully harder.
Russell Dickerson, III, said students had taunted him with derogatory epithets, spit on him, threw things at him, and created a website that mocked him. Believing he was gay, a student posted in a high school locker room a doctored picture of him kissing a man, he said.
But from 2003 to 2009, while Dickerson attended the district’s junior high and high school, Aberdeen officials did little to stop the harassment, Dickerson and his parents said. The alleged lack of action came in spite of a no-contact court order to keep one of Dickerson’s harassers away from him, the complaint said.
That harasser had allegedly threatened to lynch Dickerson.
“It was like a prison sentence,” the soft-spoken teen said at a news conference in Seattle Tuesday. The conference was organized by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, which filed the complaint on his behalf in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.
“I found myself dreading school,” he said.