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Non-binary student wins discrimination lawsuit against school district

By KPTV Staff

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    ALBANY, Oregon (KPTV) — A student who identifies as non-binary received a big settlement from the Greater Albany Public School District after accusing the district of not doing enough to stop bullying.

The bullying happened when Lior Onlay-Kelsey was 10 years old. They are now 15, but the pain of that period of their life is still painful to reflect on.

Onlay-Kelsey claims people called them a homophobic slur at school.

“In fourth and fifth grade I had, had conversation with my mother and my mother said she was reporting this to school administrators,” they said.

“At first, I was optimistic. I thought the school would do something about it and then when that didn’t happen and continue to happen over and over again and continue to go on, that’s when it got really scary because their mental health was deteriorating,” Onlay-Kelsey’s mother said.

Onlay-Kelsey and their mom say even after reporting the bullying to school administrators nothing was done. That’s when they filed an emergency transfer request to Corvallis and sued the district.

Onlay-Kelsey received a $300,000 settlement after a 12-person jury determined the district and a former principal did, in fact, discriminate against them because of their gender.

The Greater Albany Public School District released a statement regarding the case, saying:

“Our district is leaning on the Oregon Department of Education’s Supporting Gender expansion students’ guidance which was released just this January.

This guidance helps our staff understand how best to support our LGBTQ+ students and create classroom environments in which all students may thrive.”

The district says they also created a new equity, diversity, and inclusion department back in 2021.

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