FW: [SD-GLBTQ] North County -- Gay students awarded $300,000 in harassment suit
- -----Original Message-----
From: crichmond@... [mailto:crichmond@...]
Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2005 3:28 AM
Subject: FW: [SD-GLBTQ] North County -- Gay students awarded $300,000 in harassment suitFYIWe at CTA tell teachers of this law all the time at workshops but I guess the administration doesn't read or listen well. They'll keep getting 'burned' like this until the shape up and curb the harassment. I just wish more students would 'push' the issue for the good of all yet to come up the line.EarthLink Revolves Around You.----- Original Message -----
Gay students awarded $300,000 in harassment suitSIGNONSANDIEGO NEWS SERVICES5:16 p.m. June 8, 2005SAN DIEGO - A jury Wednesday awarded two gay former Poway High School students more than $100,000 each after determining that school officials failed to stop ongoing harassment.
Joseph "Joey" Ramelli, 19, was awarded $175,000 by jurors who deliberated for about a week over a complicated verdict form that contained 21 questions.
Megan Donovan, also 19, was awarded $125,000.
In her opening statement, plaintiffs' attorney Bridget J. Wilson said her clients were verbally threatened, and Ramelli was spit upon, punched and kicked and had his car vandalized.
School officials took "minimal or no action at all" when the incidents were reported, Wilson said.
Jurors found that Ramelli and Donovan were both harassed with the knowledge of school officials, that the officials did not take timely corrective action and that the two were harmed by the situation.
School officials claimed during the trial that the school had counseling programs in place for students. Poway Unified School District attorney Paul Carelli said one teacher offered to escort Ramelli to the bathroom and another told him he could park his car next to the classroom, but he never took advantage of the offers.
Plaintiffs' co-counsel Paula Rosenstein said after the hearing that she hoped the verdict meant school officials would actually take corrective action when future acts of harassment were reported.
"The kids and their parents tried to get some relief when they were still in high school, as juniors, but they didn't and they had to move (their complaints) to the next level," Rosenstein said.
Both left Poway High after their junior year and went to an independent study program before they graduated, Rosenstein said.
The plaintiffs, who had asked for $225,000 each, now attend Palomar College and work, the attorney said.
Jurors did not comment to the media about their verdicts.