A California court has ruled in favor of two students who were forced to drop out of school after being subjected to relentless antigay harassment.
In a unanimous decision, the California Court of Appeal upheld a $300,000 jury verdict in favor of Lambda Legal clients Megan Donovan and Joey Ramelli, two high school students who were forced to drop out after being subjected to antigay harassment.
Donovan and Ramelli endured blatant discrimination over the course of their sophomore and junior years. Their fellow students used antigay slurs, vandalized Ramelli’s car and assaulted him. The abuse was so intense the students eventually dropped out of Poway High School to complete studies toward their high school diplomas at home.
At oral argument this past July, Lambda Legal urged the state’s mid-level court to uphold the jury decision that held Poway High School responsible for failing to protect them.
By enforcing protections for LGBT students under the antidiscrimination provisions of the state’s education code, the decision sends a strong message to school officials throughout California that they must heed state law or pay a high price. “No student anywhere should have to go through what I did,” says Ramelli. “For me, my whole experience at Poway was just three years of my life I’d love to forget.”