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Buffalo schools settle LGBT discrimination lawsuit

[JURIST] The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) [advocacy website] on Tuesday announced [press release] a settlement [dismissal, PDF] with Buffalo City School District [official website] to halt discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in the district. The settlement came in a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] the NYCLU filed in May alleging the school openly and consistently allowed discrimination by preventing students from forming a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) [advocacy website] student organization as well as prohibiting same-sex prom dates. The settlement states:

The Parties enter into this Agreement out of a mutual desire to protect the constitutional and statutory rights of all students in the Mckinley High School community, to ensure the safety and well-being of LGBTQ students, and to increase awareness of the District's existing anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, all in a cost-effective, timely, and collaborative manner.
The settlement not only allows for a GSA on site, but also requires a two survey to track bias incidents as well as assemblies to educate students on their rights and protections.

Protections and regulations for LGBT individuals are still forming across the country. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill into law [JURIST report] in July directing New Jersey school boards to "addres[s] common issues concerning the needs of transgender and LGBTQ students, and to assist schools in establishing policies and procedures that ensure a supportive and nondiscriminatory environment for transgender students." Utah Governor Gary Herbert in March signed [JURIST report] amendments to SB 196, repealing language that barred "advocacy of homosexuality" in Utah public schools. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed a bill [JURIST report] into law in March aimed at protecting student organizations' rights to manage internal affairs in a manner that is consistent with the group's religious or political beliefs.

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