The Colorado Springs, Colo., school district has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of students by the American Civil Liberties Union after the Gay-Straight Alliance at Palmer High School was denied certain privileges.
The school board approved the settlement Nov. 28 by a 6-1 vote. The district will pay $90,000 in lawyer’s fees and fully recognize the alliance and other student groups not directly related to the curriculum.
Alfred McDonnell, the students’ lawyer, said he was pleased with the settlement because it gives the club the same rights as others.
District lawyer Eric Bentley said the district didn’t believe it discriminated against the students, but decided to settle because the lawsuit was financially draining.
Palmer High School had created a two-track system for student groups. Groups deemed to be related to the curriculum were allowed to use the public-address system and post notices.
Organizations deemed to have no direct connection to the curriculum—including the Gay-Straight Alliance—could meet at the school but not use the PA system or post notices.
The federal lawsuit, filed in 2003, argued that the policy was discriminatory and that other clubs not related to the curriculum, such as the Mountain Biking Club, were given more privileges than the gay-straight group.