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N.Y. School District Settles With Justice Dept. On Gay Student's Suit

Federal prosecutors have used a novel interpretation of the Title IX statue, which prohibits discrimination against students on the basis of gender, to help broker a settlement in a lawsuit brought by a gay teen against his upstate New York school district, NPR's Ari Shapiro tells us.

Ari, who first reported back in January about the Justice Department's intervention in the case, just filed this update for NPR's newscast:

"The high school student in this case was only identified by his first name, Jacob. He was bullied for acting effeminate. His lawyers say school officials knew about the problem and refused to intervene. One teacher allegedly told Jacob to hate himself every day until he changed.

"In January, the Justice Department stepped in. Federal lawyers argued that Title IX does not only protect students from gender discrimination. They said the law also covers discrimination based on gender expression. That is to say, boys who act like girls. It's a legal argument the government had not made since the Clinton administration.

"Now the school district has agreed to pay Jacob $50,000, legal fees, and the cost of therapy. The district, in Mohawk, N.Y., will also put staff through anti-harrassment training."

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