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Queens father sues Department of Education for failing to stop homophobic bullying

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The New York State Supreme Court Building in Foley Square, Lower Manhattan.

A Queens father is suing the New York City Department of Education and I.S. 126 in Long Island City for allegedly allowing his son to be subjected to years of homophobic bullying.

The boy, referred to as D.S. in court documents, enrolled in the middle school in 2017

shortly after coming into the care of Jason Cianciotto and his husband, Courter Simmons. Prior to his move with the Queens couple, D.S. had been abused by his biological mother and father and subsequently placed in foster care in Colorado only to be abandoned by his foster parent after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 10.

In order to help fix the negative impact D.S’ early years had had on him, Cianciotto and Simmons wanted to enroll their foster son in a school with an environment “free of fear and abuse,” but what they got was the opposite, they claim.

The lawsuit, filed in the state’s southern district court in Manhattan, alleges D.S. entered “a living nightmare” after enrolling in the middle school in 2017 and coming out as gay. Over the next two years, peers allegedly called the teen “fag” and “gay boy” and would make fun of him for “acting like a girl.”

D.S., who was open about his sexuality, was at one point allegedly told that he would be “damned to hell because of his lifestyle,” and that his fathers were a “mistake created by Jesus” because they were gay, the lawsuit alleges. Documents also claim D.S. was physically assaulted by his bully classmates on more than one occasion.

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