Geneva District 304 board seeks settlement in federal civil rights complaint

Settling ‘will avoid further litigation’

Geneva Middle School South

The Geneva District 304 School Board approved a settlement agreement with a family that filed a federal lawsuit alleging officials ignored relentless bullying of a special needs seventh grader with autism at Geneva Middle School South.

Officials did not make the terms or the cost 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 Feb. 21 upheld several portions of the district’s motion to dismiss. Seeger also ruled that several of the father’s allegations could go forward to trial, leading to both sides working to arrive at a settlement.

In an email, Superintendent Andy Barrett said the board approved a settlement agreement “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,” Barrett’s email said. “A confidentiality clause within the settlement agreement prevents disclosure of further details.”