Finding justice for Seth Walsh

The ACLU complaint filed on behalf of Seth Walsh’s mother and which launched a federal investigation has yielded positive results. Federal officials have agreed in a letter to administrators in the Tehachapi Unified School District that the Central California school district that they “did not adequately investigate or respond to complaints of bullying” that led to Seth’s suicide.

James Gilliam, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union who represented Walsh in the complaint, said he was ecstatic the federal officials had confirmed that the school had abandoned its responsibility to Seth.

“Every school in the country now has notice they have to protect these children,” Gilliam said. “But I also know it sends a message to everybody in Tehachapi.”

Seth’s case represented one of the first times that the U.S. Department of Education had applied federal laws designed to protect girls from gender harassment to a situation involving a student’s sexual orientation, a change Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced in October.

Sadly, of course, this has come too late for Seth and his legacy should haunt and continue to motivate our community to continue to fight for the lives of LGBTQ children until they enjoy the same dignity and respect as their peers.

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