Report: 2 school workers harassed girl over ‘lesbian’ remark

May 21, 2021 GMT

AMERICUS, Kan. (AP) — Two school district employees in eastern Kansas should be disciplined for suspending an eighth-grade student from riding the school bus after she said “I’m a lesbian,” the Kansas Association of School Boards has determined.

An investigation by the association found bus driver Kristi Gadino, and Corey Wiltz, principal at North Lyon County Elementary, committed sexual harassment against the student in violation of federal Title IX regulations and district policy, The Emporia Gazette reported.

The investigation began when the family of Izzy Dieker filed a complaint after she was suspended from the bus on Jan. 27. The report was issued earlier this month.

Angela Stallbaumer, an attorney for the association, said in the report that video from the bus showed Gadino ignored expletives from several other students but singled out Dieker for using the word lesbian near younger students, which she said was inappropriate.

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In her report, Gadino contended Dieker used a profanity and refused to move to the front of the bus. Stallbaumer said the video showed those allegations weren’t true.

Wiltz told the student’s father, Daniel Dieker, that his daughter was suspended for using foul language and ignoring directions to move to the front of the bus, although he had not yet watched the video footage.

He later told an investigator that he told Daniel Dieker the use of the word “lesbian” was inappropriate.

Wiltz didn’t view the video for two days and when he did, he reinstated Izzy Dieker’s bus privileges.

Stallbaumer wrote that the employees’ treatment of Izzy Dieker violated the district’s sexual harassment policy.

“At a deeper level, though, the actions of the Respondents reflected that they fundamentally disapproved of her sexual-orientation and, quite possibly, her as well,” Stallbaumer wrote.

She recommended training and further disciplinary measures but did not suggest specific action.

Daniel Dieker said the family doesn’t expect much from the North Lyon district. They are moving the children to a different district next year.

“I think that the bus driver and Mr. Wiltz are both going to get a slap on the wrist and be swept under the rug again, just like everything else,” Daniel Dieker said.

Superintendent Bob Blair said the district is continuing to follow the Title IX process.

“The current ongoing process in our school district is a confidential student and employee matter that our district is not at liberty to discuss in a public setting,” he said in a statement. ”(North Lyon) is committed to providing a positive learning environment free from discrimination for all students.”