Media Contact

Sam Petto, ACLU of Nebraska Communications Director

April 21, 2023

LINCOLN, Neb. - A teenager who said he was assaulted by a chaperone during a Niobrara High School dance has successfully settled a tort lawsuit connected to the conflict. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nebraska was representing the northeast Nebraska student and his family.

The teenager, identified as L.D. in the lawsuit, was seeking redress and compensation for assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The complaint states that a teacher serving as a chaperone at a dance struck the young man in the face while trying to forcibly remove him from the event.

Recently, all parties reached a settlement agreement. Niobrara Public Schools agreed to pay monetary damages in exchange for the teenager closing the case. 

The case was dismissed earlier today.

Rose Godinez, senior legal and policy counsel at the ACLU of Nebraska, made this statement on the settlement:

“We are pleased that our client and his family can move on from this ordeal,” Godinez said. “We hope that this sends a message to all school officials that students have rights and Nebraska’s schools have a legal responsibility to create a safe environment for all students.” 

The client’s mother added, “Although I am saddened that this happened to my son, I am grateful for the opportunity to advocate for other students in the hope that no mother’s child ever has to go through this again. This settlement is a step toward ensuring students are treated with the respect they deserve in schools. Schools should be  built on trust and safety, not violence and harm.” 

The ACLU of Nebraska considers defense of students’ rights one of its top priorities and a key component of its racial justice work because students who are Black or Indigenous are more likely to be subjected to physical discipline or removed from a classroom. The client in this case is Indigenous, and he and his family are proud to have advocated on the behalf of not only themselves, but other Indigenous students as well.