Two dads are suing the principal and staff at their child’s former school after they allegedly suggested he brought homophobic bullying on himself.
The boy, who has not been named, endured a “living nightmare” as other children called him a “f****t ass” and a “bitch” and mocked him for “acting like a girl”, according to the New York Post.
Children at IS 126Q in Long Island City also allegedly told the boy that he would be “damned to hell by God” because of his “lifestyle”.
The lawsuit – which names the school principal, staff, and the city’s department of education – claims school administrators accused the boy of lying about the homophobic bullying.
Staff allegedly suggested the boy brought the homophobic bullying on himself by being too “open” about his sexuality.
The boy’s fathers claimed he was told by staff that he should “learn to respect” comments made by other children as a “difference of opinion”.
Gay dads were ‘devastated’ by homophobic bullying
“It was devastating to hear my child say that they wanted to kill themselves because the bullying wouldn’t stop,” Cianciotto told the New York Post.
“It’s a horrific situation to be placed in.”
The bullying came at the tail end of a difficult few years for the boy. He was removed from his biological parents when he was seven years old, and spent the next three years moving between various foster homes.
He was later diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour and had to undergo surgery to have it removed.
The boy was finally adopted by Cianciotto and his husband in 2018. Shortly afterwards, he came out as gay.
He was initially happy to tell his classmates that he was gay, but it wasn’t long before his classmates started mocking him relentlessly because of his sexuality, the lawsuit claims.
In his lawsuit, Cianciotto said the school conducted “half-hearted investigations” and found that the boy’s homophobic bullying claims were “unfounded”.
The child was eventually removed from the school in 2019. The following year, a hearing officer found that the school failed to properly address the bullying, adding that a dean “went so far as to blame the student for making himself a target of the bullying”.
A department of education spokesperson said they will “review the complaint and immediately investigate the claims”, adding that the allegations were “deeply troubling”.