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NYCLU, McKinley student to drop discrimination claims against Boling-Barton

The New York Civil Liberties Union says it will drop the remaining parts of its discrimination lawsuit against a Buffalo high school principal because it says her legal defense may end up being paid by the district.

Crystal Boling-Barton, who has been on leave since the lawsuit was filed last May and is also the subject of an investigation into the alleged misuse of funds, has rejected proposed settlements of the suit, the NYCLU said.

The suit, brought on behalf of McKinley High School senior Byshop Elliott, alleged discrimination against LGBTQ students at the school during Boling-Barton's tenure. Buffalo Public Schools officials agreed to settle their part of the lawsuit in September.

"Because this lawsuit has already achieved the school-wide remedies Byshop sought, and continued litigation would potentially cost his school district significantly, Byshop now seeks to voluntarily dismiss all remaining claims and bring the lawsuit to a close," the NYCLU said in a statement. "Now that the district’s remedies are now in place and fully enforceable, should Ms. Boling-Barton ever return as principal, she would be bound by the district’s agreement and policies."

In its settlement, the district agreed to a number of terms, including maintaining a Gay-Straight Alliance, an after-school club for students. It also agreed to report LGBT discrimination and harassment complaints to the NYCLU for two years.

Boling-Barton, meanwhile, still wants her day in court.

"We're going to ask the judge not to dismiss the case," said Robert L. Boreanaz, her attorney, "because we want to prove in the court of law, as opposed to press releases and unsworn allegations, that Principal Barton did not do these things that she was accused.

"It's ironic that the plaintiff and his handlers, when it is becoming necessary to prove the allegations with sworn testimony, have now decided to pack up and go home after throwing all the mud they've thrown around at Crystal Barton," Boreanaz said.

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