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ACLU of Utah Works to Advance Equity in Granite School District

This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2014 Fall Newsletter >>

PhanAwardThe ACLU of Utah recently announced a settlement that we helped reach between the family of David Phan and Granite School District.  After David tragically took his life in front of his middle school in late 2012, the ACLU of Utah represented his family in a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education raising concerns about whether the school district was complying with its duties under federal statute to protect all students regardless of their sex and race.  We also assisted David’s family to file a complaint with the federal Office of Family Compliance with regard to their concerns about how the district was handling David’s private records.

After much work, discussion, and reflection, the parties agreed that the best way to resolve the complaints was for the school district to agree to enlist the help of the Equity Assistance Center in Denver, Colorado.  The Center is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, and specializes in advancing equal educational opportunity by helping school districts in the areas of race, gender, and national origin equity.  The school district agreed to work with the Center to develop new policies and trainings around harassment, as well as new policies and trainings for the district’s police force.  We and David’s family are confident that the Center and the district’s efforts will be meaningful and effective in helping to prevent future tragedies for all students.  

Assisting the ACLU of Utah and David’s family every step of the way was Josh Block of the ACLU’s LGBT and AIDS project.  Adam Ford of Ford & Huff also represented David’s family in the private legal aspect of the case.  The OCA Utah, an organization for the advancement of Asian-Pacific Americans, and the Utah Pride Center recently recognized John Mejia and Adam Ford for their work in this matter.  

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