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ACLU seeks training in Kansas district over ‘lesbian’ remark

July 7, 2021 GMT

AMERICUS, Kan. (AP) — A civil rights group is threatening to sue a Kansas school district if it doesn’t train employees about LGBTQ rights in response to an eighth-grade student being suspended from riding a school bus after saying, “I’m a lesbian.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas sent a letter Tuesday to the North Lyon County school district, calling on it to protect LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming students from discrimination. The district has about 350 students and is about 60 miles (97 kilometers) southwest of Topeka.

The ACLU is representing the student, Izzy Dieker, who graduated from eighth grade and plans to attend the district’s high school this fall. She was suspended from her bus for two days in January but didn’t ride again for two weeks because she felt humiliated, said Sharon Brett, the group’s legal director.

A Kansas Association of School Boards investigation found that the bus driver and the principal of Dieker’s K-8 school sexually harassed her, violating federal civil rights regulations and district policies.

Brett said the ACLU isn’t asking the district to discipline the employees but wants it to require diversity training and training on LGBTQ rights for all employees.

District Superintendent Robert Blair didn’t immediately return a telephone message Wednesday seeking comment.