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Gay Ind. teen settles bullying lawsuit against school district for $65,000

Gay Ind. teen settles bullying lawsuit against school district for $65,000

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — An openly gay Indianapolis teenager who was expelled for bringing a stun gun to school to protect himself from bullies has agreed to settle his lawsuit against Indianapolis Public Schools for $65,000.

The proposed settlement filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis also calls for the school district to remove all references of Darnell “Dynasty” Young being expelled from school from the 18-year-old’s academic record.

Darnell Young

Young, then 17, carried the stun gun — given to him by his mother — in his backpack for weeks without using it, but on April 16, 2012, as he walked between class buildings during a passing period, Young said six students surrounded him, called him names, cursed and threatened to beat him up.

He said he pulled out the stun gun, pointed it in the air and fired it so it would make the noise, causing the students to retreat.

An arbitrator who presided over an expulsion hearing last May decided to expel Young until January 7, 2013. The district later reduced the penalty so Young could start the fall semester, but said he would have to go to an alternative school.

Young sued the district last year, alleging that the school district discriminated against him because, despite repeated complaints, it did not protect him from bullies who taunted him for being gay.

He graduated from Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, a charter school, in June and plans to attend Atlanta Metropolitan College next fall.

Young told the Associated Press on Wednesday he’s pleased with the settlement, and plans to use the money to launch an anti-bullying magazine next year and to run an anti-bullying campaign after he graduates college.

Indianapolis Public Schools spokesman John Althardt says the district doesn’t comment on legal matters.

The agreement still must be approved by a judge.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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