Gay teenager files suit against Oklahoma school district

Posted on 09 Mar 2006 at 10:37pm
By Associated Press

Student attacked by classmate in cafeteria claims high school failed
to provide a safe environment; lawsuit seeks $10,000 in damages

GROVE, Okla. A Wyandotte teenager who alleges he was attacked by a fellow student because he is gay has filed a tort claim against the Grove school district.

The district of about 2,300 students failed to provide a safe environment for Michale D. Bullis, thereby creating a hostile climate that led to his assault, his attorney, Erik Johnson, alleges.

Bullis was injured in an attack by another student Nov. 8 in the Grove High School cafeteria, the claim alleges. The student said he attacked Bullis because he is gay, according to the claim, which seeks $10,000 in damages.
Bullis, a National Honor Society student, alleges the attack was part of “systematic harassment and bullying” which resulted in his transfer to the Grove Alternative School.

Tom Steen, superintendent, said March 3 the claim was turned over to the school’s attorney. Annie Maxon, school board president, said she hadn’t seen the claim and could not comment.

According to a Grove police report, Bullis was walking down an aisle when a 16-year-old boy stepped out from a line of students and hit Bullis in the mouth and nose, causing him to fall. One of Bullis’ upper teeth was knocked loose, and his bottom lip cut.

“I got tired of it, and I got up and hit him,” Bullis said in the report.
Both students were suspended from school.

Bullis’ claim also states the school administration refused to acknowledge the hostile environment and refused to take steps to address the physical safety needs of gay students.

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