The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada today filed discrimination complaints with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC) charging that the Clark County School District violated Nevada’s law prohibiting discrimination in places of public accommodation when it failed to take appropriate action to protect two harassed boys at Greenspun Junior High School.

From August 27, 2011, until or about February 9, 2012, then sixth graders Ethan Bryan and Nolan Hairr, were discriminated against and harassed by other students at Greenspun Junior High School based on their perceived sexual orientation, and also based on Nolan Hairr’s perceived gender identity or expression. Such discrimination is illegal under NRS 651.070, and NRS 651.110 specifies that complaints about such incidents in places of public accommodation should be filed the Nevada Equal Rights Commission. Under NRS 651.050(3)(k), a Nevada place of public accommodation includes public schools, an interpretation that was confirmed by the Nevada Supreme Court in Clark County School District v. Buchanan, 924 P.2d 716 (Nev. 1996). The ACLU complaint also alleges that CCSD violated parts of NRS Chapter 392.

The complaint, which names several actively aggressive students at Greenspun Junior High School, details that: Bryan and Hairr were repeatedly called derogatory names by other students, incidents in which Bryan was physically assaulted by another student, the boys’ mothers’ repeated complaints to Greenspun Junior High School officials, and that school officials apparently took no action to provide any meaningful safety plan for the boys. Both Bryan and Hairr were excellent students, and had never had any disciplinary problems of their own. Greenspun Junior High’s lack of response to the events led Ethan Bryan’s parents to file a formal complaint with the Clark County School District Board of Trustees on or about Feb. 7, 2012, after which Mrs. Bryan was barred by a Greenspun Junior High assistant principal from continuing to work as a volunteer at the school, and that her pleas for help were ignored.

The complaints filed by the ACLU of Nevada request a long list of remedies, including but not limited to, requiring the Clark County School District to enforce its current policies regarding discrimination because of perceived sexual orientation and perceived gender identity/expression; requiring Clark County School District to modify its relevant policies as necessary to comply with NRS 651 and NRS 392 and then implement those revised policies; and ensuring the Clark County School District are not verbally discouraged from filing harassment reports by any CCSD officials. The ACLU of Nevada also requests that: CCSD officials annually receive relevant training from NERC, Greenspun Junior High School administrators and faculty meet weekly about contemporaneous discrimination and harassment incidents, and Greenspun Junior High hold an annual meeting for its students about bullying, harassment, and discrimination.

The ACLU of Nevada called on NERC in February 2012 to formally acknowledge that is has jurisdiction to address discrimination in public schools. The ACLU of Nevada encourages NERC to use its authority to stop discrimination in schools and protect students such as Ethan Bryan and Nolan Hairr.