ACLU files complaint against Cassia schools

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BURLEY, Idaho (AP) — A civil liberties organization says the Cassia County School District hasn't taken necessary steps to prevent discrimination following a high school student's discrimination complaint.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho filed a complaint with the Idaho Human Rights Commission, saying the district hasn't changed policies to prevent gender and religious discrimination, reports The Times-News (

The complaint was filed by Declo High School senior Sierra Norman and her mother Janeil Norman in October 2014 after Sierra was banned from running for student body president.

School officials say she wasn't eligible because she took too many dual-credit classes, but the Normans say the district's decision was related to the fact that Sierra is not Mormon. The other candidate is.

The Human Rights Commission is investigating the complaint and during that time will decide if the school has made any progress on the issue.

The civil rights group also learned of a complaint filed by a teacher stating that another teacher at the school suggested beating a student.

"It was investigated," said Gaylen Smyer, Cassia County superintendent. "They're entitled to make all the accusations they want, and then we will respond through the legal system."

A legal director with the ACLU of Idaho, Ritchie Eppink, says the students at Declo High School voted to change a policy on full-time students and activities so that a student must be enrolled in five conventional classes. The vote was "evidence of retaliation" against Sierra, he said.


Information from: The Times-News,

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