Mediation next step in appeal of verdict
In about two weeks, a court-ordered attempt will be made at settling a federal lawsuit over school bullying.
A telephone mediation session has been scheduled for Dec. 6 between lawyers for the Tonganoxie school district and a young man who sued the district, claiming he was bullied for several years before he left school.
The mediation session is a requirement of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
In May 2004, former Tonganoxie student Dylan Theno sued the local school district in U.S. District Court, alleging he was called names such as "fag," "faggot," "queer," "flamer" and "masturbator" from his seventh-grade year until he quit school as a junior. The suit also said the harassment denied Theno access to an education.
At the conclusion of a trial last August in Kansas City, Kan., a jury awarded Theno a $250,000 judgment against the district. And Theno's attorney is asking the district to pay legal fees of another $250,000.
In October, the school district appealed the jury's verdict to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The federal appeals process will take several months before attorneys argue the case in front of a three-judge panel.