Vero Seashore Excessive family information civil rights lawsuit in opposition to faculty, district

VERO BEACH – Two Vero Beach High School students claim they were unfairly dismissed from the high school girls’ soccer team and subjected to retaliation and discrimination by the team’s head coach and sports department because of their gender.

The allegations are among a handful contained in a 50-page lawsuit filed Thursday against the high school by Gabrielle D’Elia, a former student. her younger sister, a current student, referred to in the lawsuit as Plaintiff DD; and her parents, Megan and Anthony D’Elia, who accuse the school, school district and certain staff of sex discrimination, harassment and bullying.

The school district does not comment on threatened or pending litigation, said spokeswoman Cristen Maddux.

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The lawsuit names the Indian River County School Board, Superintendent David Moore, Vero Beach High School, Headmaster Shawn O’Keefe, Assistant Headmaster Greg Ahrens, Athletic Director Lenny Jankowski, and girls’ soccer coach Dan Dickens as defendants.

The complaint was submitted to the Federal Supreme Court under Title IX, which protects people from gender-based discrimination in schools and alleges violations of girls’ civil rights. The family is demanding at least $ 75,000 in damages, records show.

In a press conference on Thursday announcing the lawsuit, family lawyer Jasmine Rand alleged Gabrielle, the eldest daughter, was wrongly removed from the team in her senior year after she was in a game with her coach in 2019 Dickens had spoken.

Vero Beach High School, 707 16th St.

Gabrielle did not use swear words or inappropriate language, but was disapproved of due process, and the penalty was disproportionately higher because of her gender and gender. In addition, Gabrielle was rejected when she and Plaintiff DD were denied attendance at the year-end football banquet according to the lawsuit.

During the press conference, Rand claimed that male athletes at school tolerated or even allowed similar or worse behavior.

“There are two rulebooks at school,” said Rand, “one for girls and one for boys.”

Other allegations are negligence, breach of contract and failure to train staff and trainers in Title IX. The lawsuit contains earlier examples dating back more than a decade that Rand claims to discriminate against former students and staff.

As a result of the 2019 incident and subsequent events, the lawsuit alleged that the girls suffered “severe psychological and emotional harm” including “depression, anxiety, panic attacks and severe pain and suffering”.

In addition, the lawsuit alleges that Plaintiff DD “took the majority of her courses online in the spring of 2019 and was effectively prevented from participating in personal education and football due to fear or further retaliation”.

The defendants are seeking compensation for past and future medical expenses; emotional pain and suffering; and legal fees.

Sommer Brugal is TCPalm’s education reporter for Indian River, St. Lucie, and Martin counties. You can stay up to date with Summer on Twitter @smbrugal and call her at 772-221-4231.

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