Nabozny v. Podlesny: Facts of the Case

2012-10-30 22:31:04 by admin

Nabozny v. Podlesny

Nabozny v. Podlesny: The Court’s Ruling

Jamie Nabozny sued his school board in federal trial court under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Nabozny was a gay student who was subjected to such severe harassment and physical abuse that he left school before he graduated. Prior to Nabozny, queer (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, and/or intersexual) students had little legal recourse in federal court to challenge the abuse they received in public school settings.

The record reflected the fact that beginning in seventh grade, the plaintiff was routinely and continually harassed, beaten, and called “fag” and “faggot.” He was spat on, punched, urinated on, and even subjected to a mock rape where 20 students watched and even laughed but did not come to his aid. All of this harassment and Bullying happened on school grounds, and almost all of this abuse was at the hands of fellow students. When the student’s parents tried to intervene with school administrators after the mock rape, they were informed that if their son was going to act like a queer, then they should have expected that he would be subjected to this type of harassment.

In many instances, teachers and administrators witnessed the student being abused but failed to intervene. In fact, one teacher called the plaintiff a “fag,” and a high school assistant principal told him he deserved to be abused because he was gay. During his sophomore year, the student was so savagely beaten and kicked in one attack that he needed extensive abdominal surgery to repair the damage. The constant abuse also led the student to attempt suicide twice. By eleventh grade, the student had dropped out of school, and administrators recommended that he should attend school somewhere else.

The student’s subsequent successful suit in federal court against his middle school principal and the school board was the first such federal action in the United States. On further review of a grant of summary judgment in favor of school officials, the Seventh Circuit partially reversed in favor of the student.