School district settles lawsuit filed by former student

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ELK POINT, S.D. (AP) — A school district in South Dakota has agreed to pay $65,000 to settle a sexual discrimination lawsuit brought by a former honor student who said her high school principal punished her for using a phrase her male peers used without retribution.

Addison Ludwig said former Elk Point-Jefferson High School principal Travis Aslesen singled her out after she was featured in the student newspaper “The Husky” in 2017 describing how she enjoys “Netflix n' Chill with my boyfriend.” Ludwig said she didn't know it was a term used to describe casual sexual encounters until Aslesen brought it to her attention. She had believed the term referred to watching movies on the video streaming service.

Aslesen revoked her senior privileges and honors study hall, forced her to write a letter of apology and removed her as editor of the newspaper. Ludwig said in her lawsuit that male students who used the term had not been disciplined, including a boy who had used the term in a profile in the publication that same year.

District Superintendent Derek Barrios released a copy of the settlement to the Argus Leader.

“The parties agree that the execution of this agreement is solely to avoid the ongoing cost and expense of litigation and is not an admission of liability, and that defendants, individually and collectively, affirmatively deny any liability or wrongdoing,” the settlement said.

Ludwig graduated from Elk Point-Jefferson in May 2018.

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