MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Students who sued the state’s largest school district over bullying said they’re pleased with a $270,000 settlement, and the changes that will come with it.

The Anoka-Hennepin School Board voted Monday to approve the settlement, with one member resigning in protest. The plan requires the district to work with consultants to address sexual orientation harassment issues.

The students who filed those lawsuits shared their stories on Tuesday.

Kyle Rooker, 15, said he felt a huge sense of relief when the settlement was approved. He’s one of the students who sued for change even though he’s actually moved out of the district.

“At my old school kids called me names, shoved me into lockers, desks and walls. I was even urinated upon in a restroom,” Kyle said.

“I’ve been pushed into lockers, almost shoved into trash cans. I’ve been called very disgusting words,” said Brittany Geldert.

The six students will split $270,000, but said they’re more pleased that the district agreed to hire a consultant and develop a plan to prevent harassment based on someone’s sexual orientation.

“We wanted to make change, we wanted to make systematic change and we just wouldn’t have been able to do that without it,” said Rebecca Rooker, Kyle’s mother.

“I’m glad that kids coming up behind me in school won’t have to suffer the same things that I did,” Kyle said. “I’ve already seen change and I want these kids to know in the future that they’re going to be safe.”

Dylon Frei, 15, said he hasn’t been bullied in a month and a half. It’s the longest stretch he can remember. He’s pleased with the changes and has high hopes for the future.

“Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m different from anybody else. We all should be treated equally,” Frei said.

All six students said they’ll put aside the settlement money to help pay for college.

The attorneys and advocates involved in this case, believe it will be far reaching.

They say the district and educators involved have the opportunity to create a national model and standards for dealing with cases involving gay bullying.

They say it also sends a strong message that a lack of response to these types of situations won’t be tolerated.

Comments (9)
  1. Lou says:

    Maybe if Dayton wouldn’t have vetoed the self defense bill bullying would soon be a thing of the past.

  2. Father Bob says:

    Silence woman and speak not of which you know not! I rebuke you, Dale Gribble, you evil temptress!

  3. pumphandle- says:

    How comedic See BS and Dale Gribble are the same person. Both post numerous comments one after another in a 10min or so span, and reports my comment because it puts him in his place.

  4. Father Bob says:

    I would have protected you Brett.

  5. Brett says:

    Well of course these kids are happy, they just ripped off the school district of a quarter of a million dollars, and have a lottery ticket to a free college education (assuming that they are smart enough to complete such an endeavor). Watch for a lot more of these lawsuits against many other school districts in the future. I salute the school board member who resigned, she did the right thing, too bad that the “men” on that board had backbones made of jelly.

  6. Sorry But Their Are Mean Kids In School Big Deal, You Don"t Like It Go Do Something About it or Do Home School says:

    I had friends in school that were bullied, and when I stuck up for two different friends on two different occasions I was then the one being threatened by older students, and guess what I did?! Kicked their butts, big deal. And guess what they never messed with me a again! Maybe I should have sued my school, then I could have had my college paid for, maybe some breast implants too, lol

  7. Disgusted says:

    The school district INSURANCE company is paying the settlement. The settlement is not about bullying. The settlement is about having an inappropriate “neutrality” policy. All students need to treat each other with respect, regardless of who they are or what they believe. That in itself is what diversity is about. Respect for differences, accepting people for who they are. Putting other people down or tormenting them does not create a safe environment for learning. What would Jesus do Dale Gribble? I don’t think he advocated the hatred you spew.

  8. pla eese says:

    You are right Dylon, just because you’re gay doesn’t make you different. What makes you different is how you shove it in the face of everyone at your school.

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