Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gay Slur Claim Was Retaliation

A teacher and the student she allegedly harassed with gay slurs are trading new accusations. Teachers Diane Cleveland and Walt Filson are on unpaid leave from the Anoka-Hennepin School District after the Department of Human Rights found evidence that the two harassed former student Alex Merritt insinuating he was gay. He said he is not gay and the constant taunts finally convinced him to change schools. Cleveland is now claiming that Merritt made up the allegations because she once reported him for talking about bringing a gun to school.Merritt's mother Jodi Merritt said that's a lie. Jodi Merritt said, "I feel like they just basically abused him again. I mean, it didn't happen and they're still bullying him." A spokeswoman for the Anoka-Hennepin district confirms there was a report of students talking about bringing a gun to school last year. It was investigated, but never found to be true. For privacy reasons, school officials can't say if the incident even involved Merritt. The school district paid Merritt a $25,000 settlement under orders from the state Department of Human Rights.