Henkle v. Gregory

United States District Court for the District of Nevada

150 F. Supp. 2d 1067 (D. Nev. 2001)

The right to freedom of speech and expression includes a public-school student’s right to express his sexuality.

Relevant Facts

Henkle (the plaintiff) was a student at Galena High School in which Floyd (the defendant) acted as the school’s principal. After appearing on a local television program in which he discussed being gay, the plaintiff was harassed by other students at Galena High School. The plaintiff was called derogatory names by fellow students, had a lasso tied around his neck while students threatened to drag him behind a truck, and had metal objects thrown at him. The defendant was made aware of the harassment after the plaintiff reported some of the incidents to him. The defendant along with other school officials who were aware of the incidents did not investigate or take disciplinary action against any of the harassers. The plaintiff suffered an emotional breakdown and requested to transfer schools. The defendant called the plaintiff derogatory names and told him not to discuss his sexual orientation, but granted the transfer to Washoe High School. Due to a lack of educational opportunities at Washoe, the plaintiff later transferred to Wooster High School, where he was again harassed. The plaintiff was punched in the face by another student at Wooster during one of the harassment incidents. Subsequently, the plaintiff was placed into an adult-education program, which prevented him from obtaining a high school diploma. The plaintiff sued the defendant and other school officials for violating his First Amendment rights and for retaliating against him after exercising his First Amendment rights. The defendant and other school officials filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

Issue

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Holding & Reasoning

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Concurrence

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Dissent

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Last updated:

December 23, 2020

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Procedural History

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Citations

150 F. Supp. 2d 1067 (D. Nev. 2001)