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Florida school district settles anti-gay bullying complaint by former student

Tuesday, June 19, 2012
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PALM COAST, Fla. — A Florida school district has settled a complaint filed against it with the U.S. Office of Civil Rights which alleged that the staff at Flagler Palm Coast High School allowed a gay former student to be bullied.

The Flagler County school district’s attorney, Kristy Gavin, said that the district school officials have agreed to provide annual training for instructional staff and employees who investigate complaints of sex discrimination and harassment, and survey students about school climate.

Luke Herbert

Last year 17-year-old Luke Herbert, along with his mother Dorene Davenport, filed the complaint alleging that Luke was bullied while he was a freshman at Flagler Palm Coast High School during the 2010-2011 school year.

The complaint said Luke was subjected to verbal harassment and was was physically assaulted.

School officials said they had investigated Luke’s claims of anti-gay bullying and disciplined one student who had assaulted Luke in late 2010.

Luke said the experience has left him feeling “emotionally and physically violated” — he’s also struggled with depression and has been attending therapy sessions.

Luke has since left the mainstream high school experience, and Davenport said she hopes her son can complete his education and one day “be an advocate for other kids going through this.”

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