Quantcast

Pasco schools want to stop gay-baiting - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Pasco schools want to stop gay-baiting

Posted: Updated:
Zachery Gray, before his suicide attempt Zachery Gray, before his suicide attempt
PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

The Pasco County School Board is scheduled approve an agreement with the Federal Department of Education Office of Civil Rights Tuesday that's intended to stop bullying on the basis of sexual orientation.

In other words, there will now be strict sanctions and preventive measures in place against gay-baiting in Pasco County schools if board members agree with staff recommendations.

"It's tough," said Attorney Robin Allweiss. "It's a tough, tough agreement."

Allweiss should know. The proposal is the result of a civil rights complaint she filed against the Pasco school district a year ago on behalf of the parents of  bully victim Zachery Gray who tried to kill himself.

"It is sad, but I think in their hearts--and I think they made it clear--is they want to make a difference for other children," said Allweiss.

The nine-page resolution stems from a yearlong investigation prompted by the Gray family's complaint that educators at Zephyrhills High School had ignored their son's torment by bullies. 

"This is just the beginning of a response to OCR [Office of Civil Rights] issues," said Ray Gadd, Assistant Superintendent of Pasco Schools. "There will be much more to come as it relates to bullying and how we deal with it in our school system."

Gray had a girlfriend, who also attended Zephyrhills High School, and his parents say he is not gay, but they say that didn't stop school bullies from harassing him with insults about his sexual orientation day after day.

Gray hanged himself at home on May 18, 2011 and survived, but now has permanent brain damage. He requires around-the-clock nursing care.

Gray's parents say teachers and administrators at Zephyrhills High School did nothing to stop the abuses heaped on their son, even though they knew it was happening. 

A brief investigation by the school district revealed that Gray complained to one of his teachers about the abuse, and she told him to ignore it. The teacher did not take other actions that state law requires when students report bully behavior, such as telling parents about the abuse.

The proposed resolution is the result of months of negotiations between Pasco school district lawyers and the Office of Civil Rights. It makes no finding of fault, but mandates a list of actions intended to head off "sex-based harassment", and specifies procedures to deal with complaints when they arise.

There is required training for staff and improved complaint procedures.

Under the resolution, the district agreed to hire retired sociologist H. Roy Kaplan as a consultant, to help schools comply with the terms of the agreement.

Robin Allweiss, an attorney representing Zachery Gray's family, applauded the comprehensive agreement, and said she and his parents will attend Tuesday's Pasco School Board meeting when the resolution comes up for approval.

The Gray family still has pending litigation against the district, stemming from Gray's alleged abuse at Zephyrhills High School and the injuries he suffered in his attempted suicide.

Last year, voters elected Kurt Browning to replace Pasco School Superintendent Heather Fiorentino.  Browning has taken a hard line against bullying in schools since he assumed leadership of the district.

Zachery Gray's father takes some comfort in that.

"He's going the right direction," said Tony Gray.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @WFLATAMPA

  • NewsMore>>

  • Closing arguments to begin in Lakeland police officer murder trial

    Closing arguments to begin in Lakeland police officer murder trial

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:09 AM EDT2014-08-20 09:09:52 GMT
    Kyle Williams is accused of killing a police officerKyle Williams is accused of killing a police officer
    Closing arguments are set for Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of killing a Lakeland Police officer.
    Closing arguments are set for Wednesday in the trial of a man accused of killing a Lakeland Police officer.
  • Davis Islands shooting ruled non-accidental

    Davis Islands shooting ruled non-accidental

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 4:28 AM EDT2014-08-20 08:28:06 GMT
    The shooting scene on Davis IslandsThe shooting scene on Davis Islands
    Tampa Police officers are investigating a shooting on Davis Islands early Wednesday morning.
    Tampa Police officers are investigating a shooting on Davis Islands early Wednesday morning.
  • Sarasota Police to try body cams

    Sarasota Police to try body cams

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 3:42 AM EDT2014-08-20 07:42:41 GMT
    Body cameras are used by several law enforcement agencies in Florida but not many in the Bay Area. Sarasota Police announced this week they will begin using body cameras on police officers with a pilot program.
    Body cameras are used by several law enforcement agencies in Florida but not many in the Bay Area. Sarasota Police announced this week they will begin using body cameras on police officers with a pilot program.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Morgue attendant admits to having sex with up to 100 bodies

    Morgue attendant admits to having sex with up to 100 bodies

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 2:30 PM EDT2014-08-19 18:30:56 GMT
    A federal court has made a ruling in connection with a disturbing case involving an Ohio morgue attendant who had sex with female corpses at work.
    A federal court has made a ruling in connection with a disturbing case involving an Ohio morgue attendant who had sex with female corpses at work.
  • Cops shoot and kill man in incident near Ferguson

    Cops shoot and kill man in incident near Ferguson

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:33 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:33:45 GMT
    Two St. Louis city police officers shot and killed a man who came within several feet of them brandishing a knife on Tuesday in a confrontation several miles from the turbulent suburb of Ferguson, authorities said.
    Two St. Louis city police officers shot and killed a man who came within several feet of them brandishing a knife on Tuesday in a confrontation several miles from the turbulent suburb of Ferguson, authorities said.
  • Dog saves newborn kitten, now pals for life

    Dog saves newborn kitten, now pals for life

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 2:33 PM EDT2014-08-19 18:33:17 GMT
    Roscoe was an injured, newborn kitten covered in maggots and pinned underneath a log, when he was found by Opie the dog. Imgur photo by Lia Spilka  Roscoe was an injured, newborn kitten covered in maggots and pinned underneath a log, when he was found by Opie the dog. Imgur photo by Lia Spilka
    A newborn kitten whose life was in danger when he was discovered by a curious pooch out on a walk, is now best buddies with the dog who saved him.
    A newborn kitten whose life was in danger when he was discovered by a curious pooch out on a walk, is now best buddies with the dog who saved him.
Powered by WorldNow

3221 South Evans Street
Greenville N.C. 27834

Telephone: 252.355.8500
Fax: 252.355.8568
Email: newsdesk@wnct.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.