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Complaint filed, alleges gay student beaten on school bus

– A gay rights advocacy group has filed a complaint on behalf of a gay high school student whose mother says he was beaten by a football player because of his sexuality.

GetEqual Indiana Director David Stevens said the complaint filed Thursday with Indianapolis’ Office of Equal Opportunity alleges Perry Township Schools denied the teen “access to a hostile-free education.”

The Indianapolis Star reports the teen’s mother said a sophomore football player from Southport High School who had been taunting her son for months punched and choked her son Aug. 15 on a school bus.

But Southport Principal Barbara Brouwer said a district investigation determined the gay teen, a junior, started the fight by using a racial slur against the athlete, who responded with a gay slur.

The district suspended both students from the bus for a week and later assigned them to separate buses, she said.

Perry Township School district spokeswoman Paula Clegg said officials had not seen the complaint and could not comment. The gay teen’s mother told the Star her son has been afraid to leave the house and she believes he needs counseling.

Office of Equal Opportunity chief Maxine Russell said the agency will investigate to determine whether there was any discrimination or bullying.

In a similar recent case, Indianapolis Public Schools reached a $65,000 settlement in July with a gay student who was expelled from Tech High School after he used a stun gun to defend himself from bullying.