BUFFALO – Today the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss remaining discrimination claims against former McKinley principal Crystal Boling-Barton on behalf of a student, Byshop Elliott, after the Buffalo City School District agreed to implement a series of measures to protect the rights of LGBTQ students at McKinley. Boling-Barton, who has been on administrative leave since the filing of the complaint, recently rejected all offers to settle the individual claims against her, and the NYCLU has learned that the cost of her legal fees for continued litigation may be borne by the school district.
The NYCLU brought a federal lawsuit against the Buffalo City School District over the open and systematic discrimination of LGBTQ students at McKinley High School in May of last year. In September, the District entered into a binding agreement which includes maintaining a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), an after-school club where students provide social, emotional and educational support for one another; anti-discrimination training for students and staff; prominent posting of the District’s LGBTQ nondiscrimination policy around the school; and public reporting of incidents of LGBTQ bias.
The student, Byshop Elliott, had also brought individual claims against then-McKinley principal Crystal Boling-Barton for her direct role in preventing students from forming a GSA and enacting policies that discriminated against LGBTQ students. Because this lawsuit has already achieved the school-wide remedies Byshop sought, and continued litigation would potentially cost his school district significantly, Byshop now seeks to voluntarily dismiss all remaining claims and bring the lawsuit to a close. Now that the district’s remedies are in place and fully enforceable, should Ms. Boling-Barton ever return as principal, she would be bound by the district’s agreement and policies.
“We’re pleased that the school district has committed itself to providing a safe and supportive environment for all students,” said Bobby Hodgson, staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union. “So long as the district takes all agreed-upon steps to ensure that the rights of LGBTQ students are protected, there is no need to pursue additional litigation at this time.”