Geneva school board approves settlement to bullying lawsuit

The Geneva Unit School District 304 board has approved a proposed settlement with a family that filed a federal lawsuit alleging district officials ignored relentless bullying of a seventh grader with autism at Geneva Middle School South.

Officials did not make the terms of the proposed settlement public because it had not yet been accepted by the boy’s father.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in 2022, alleged the district violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, due process under the 14th Amendment and alleges unlawful disability harassment under the Rehabilitation Act.

Federal Judge Steven Seeger’s 44-page opinion and order on Feb. 21 upheld several portions of the district’s motion to dismiss. But Seeger also ruled that several of the father’s allegations could go forward to trial — leading to both sides working toward a settlement.

Superintendent Andy Barrett wrote in an email that the board approved a settlement “that will avoid further litigation regarding a complaint filed in federal court alleging that the district did not follow its code of conduct and bullying policies.”

“There is no admission of liability or finding of wrongdoing by the District or any District 304 staff,” according to Barrett’s email. “A confidentiality clause within the settlement agreement prevents disclosure of further details.”

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