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New Complaint Filed by ACLU Against Cassia County School District


Dr. Gaylen Smyer, Cassia County Superintendent - CASSIA SCHOOL DISTRICT
  • Cassia School District
  • Dr. Gaylen Smyer, Cassia County Superintendent
ACLU-Idaho has filed new complaints against the Cassia County School District and Declo High School, alleging that a teacher suggested beating a student, the Twin Falls Times-News reports.

In October 2014, ACLU-Idaho filed the original civil rights complaint on behalf of Sierra Norman, a student who alleged the high school had given another student preferential treatment because he is male and enrolled in an LDS seminary class.

The new filing stems from a written complaint by a teacher at the school regarding a "role model teacher and coach" suggesting "someone should Ray Rice Sierra," alluding to a 2014 incident in which professional football player Ray Rice was caught on video assaulting his then-fiancee (now wife) in an Atlantic City, N.J., elevator. 

ACLU-Idaho Legal Director Ritchie Eppink said the school had tacitly permitted the school to become an environment in which Norman was systemically alienated.

"The school was obviously aware of [the atmosphere of ostracization]," Eppink told the Times-News. "It is not a big school. It was a lashing back and a prolonged punishment of Sierra for standing up for what she thinks is right."

Epping said that the Declo School District failed to adhere to its own policies regarding the investigation of the alleged harassment, but Cassia County Superintendent Gaylen Smyer told the Times-News that the incident had been investigated.

"[ACLU-Idaho] is entitled to make all the accusations they want, and then we will respond through the legal system," he said.