FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 30, 2021
CONTACT: Mark McCormick, Director of Strategic Communications, 913-490-4113, [email protected]
OVERLAND PARK, KS - Officials from the North Lyon County School District notified the ACLU of Kansas of its intention to implement several reforms following a January incident in which a 14-year-old student suffered discrimination on a school bus.
District remedies to address what happened to the student, Izzy Dieker, include providing anti-discrimination training to teachers and staff, making Title IX complaint procedures more transparent and more clearly publicizing the district’s anti-discrimination policies.
“We were glad for the district’s willingness to engage with us to address the discrimination Izzy Dieker experienced because of her sexual orientation,” ACLU of Kansas Legal Director Sharon Brett said in a letter to the school district. “While we regret that our involvement and Izzy’s successful Title IX complaint were ever necessary, we were glad to learn that the district would take steps to ensure similar discrimination does not occur again. We understand that USD 251 leadership agrees that all students in North Lyon County should feel welcomed, respected, and safe—regardless of their sexual orientation.”
These moves by the district follow independent investigations and an appeal found that two school employees harassed Izzy for saying that she was a lesbian while riding the bus home from school.
School officials initially suspended Izzy from the bus for swearing, but a video of the incident confirmed that she never swore, just simply stated that she was a lesbian. School officials however, kept the suspension in place because they considered her declaration inappropriate language.
In addition to the annual Title IX training, the school district will broaden its training for all district employees to include lessons designed to ensure that USD 251 faculty and staff are welcoming to all, especially members of the LGBTQI+ community.
The district also will contact an experienced trainer and presenter recommended by the ACLU of Kansas to augment the training either this summer or during in-service days throughout the year.
The district also will make clear that students and families going through the Title IX complaint process are aware of, and know how to, request support from the district throughout the complaint process and following a complaint’s resolution.
The ACLU letter to the school district concluded, “We believe these are positive steps forward to both heal the harm done to Izzy and ensure North Lyon County USD 251 is an educational and positive place for all.”
# # #
About the ACLU of Kansas: The ACLU of Kansas is the statewide affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU of Kansas is dedicated to preserving and advancing the civil rights and legal freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For more information, visit our website at www.aclukansas.org.