A lesbian couple will be allowed to walk as a couple in a “pep fest” at a Minnesota high school after a lawsuit they filed against the school district was “amicably” dismissed following mediation.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Faegre & Benson law firm on Friday filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the two students against the high school and Anoka-Hennepin School District when the school announced it would have students walk in male/female couples in the Pep Fest ceremonies. The lawsuit accused the school district of anti-gay discrimination and sought damages as well as a restraining order on the school’s new policy.
Champlin Park High School seniors Desiree Shelton and Sarah Lindstrom and the school district reached an agreement after a six-hour mediation session that resulted in the school’s allowing Shelton and Lindstrom to walk together during the festivities in exchange for the students’ dropping of the lawsuit.
“All parties are pleased to announce that we have worked together, collaboratively, to arrive at an arrangement for introductions of elected royalty that is respectful and inclusive of all students,” said a statement on the agreement, which will allow students to “select a meaningful person in their life” as an escort to this event and similar ones.
The couple is pleased with the arrangement. “I’m feeling great about this whole situation and how well it was resolved,” Shelton said. “I’m pretty excited that I’m going to be able to walk with my girlfriend at Pep Fest.”
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