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Ohio teen sentenced to 90 days for video recorded attack on gay classmate

Thursday, December 1, 2011
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CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — A judge has sentenced 15-year-old Levi Sever to a 90-day sentence in a juvenile detention center for the October assault on an openly gay classmate that was recorded on video and then posted to Facebook.

Zach Huston and his mother Rebecca Collins

Ross County Chief Juvenile Court Judge Richard Ward handed down the sentence Wednesday to Sever, who had previously pleaded guilty to a single count of delinquency assault.

The victim, 15-year-old Zach Huston — a student at Unioto High School — suffered physical injuries as a result of the beating. His mother, Rebecca Collins, described the attack as hate motivated gay bashing.

In addition to serving a 90-day sentence, Sever was ordered to undergo mental health counseling and continue his education during his detention, said Ross County Prosecutor Matthew Schmidt.

Sever has not been attending classes at the high school since the assault first came to light and Zach’s mother launched a formal protest. However, the school’s administration has declined to reveal what disciplinary actions were taken against Sever.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Huston and his mother, Rebecca Collins, have repeatedly alleged that school officials have not responded appropriately to their reports about bullying due to his sexual orientation.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio who is representing Huston and his mother have threatened to take legal action against the Ross County school district in Federal Court unless it immediately implements changes to protect students, especially LGBTQ pupils such as Huston from bullying.

Late Thursday, a spokesperson for the ACLU in Columbus told LGBTQ Nation that Union-Scioto School District administrators have as of yet to address the ACLU’s request, which included amending the district’s anti-bullying policy to specifically prohibit the harassment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.

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