A man settled a lawsuit he filed against a Jewish school on behalf of his daughters, who he alleged were discriminated against and bullied because their father is single and gay.
The plaintiff, identified only as John Doe, said his older girl contemplated suicide because of her alleged mistreatment at the Pressman Academy of Temple Beth Am.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Robert Starr filed a notice of settlement Friday with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dennis Landin. The terms were not revealed.
In October, Landin dismissed the civil rights and false advertising claims in the suit, but said the case could move forward on the allegations of negligence and negligent hiring and supervision.
The suit described Doe as “a single homosexual man who works hard to provide a good life for his two beautiful daughters and to send them to the best schools he can.”
Lawyers for the school stated in their court papers that the language in the complaint was “conclusory” and that the claims were “vague, ambiguous, and uncertain.”
John Doe grew up in Israel and chose Pressman Academy for his daughters “because it is supposed to be the best school that would instill those same values in his children,” the complaint stated.
The daughters are referred to as Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 in the complaint filed in September 2017.
The school initially did not know John Doe was gay, but officials found out later when Jane Doe 1 was interviewed by a school psychologist, the suit stated. From then on, matters got “progressively worse for Jane Doe 1 and her father,” the suit alleged.
In 2016, Jane Doe 1, while seeing a tutor because of depression and its interference with her school work, told the mentor, “I want to kill myself,” the suit alleged.
Jane Doe 1 was enrolled at the academy in September 2010 when she was 2 1/2 years old, and her sister started there in September 2015. They were removed by their father at the end of the 2016-17 school year, according to the lawsuit.
Pressman teachers and other staff members repeatedly asked the sisters to bring a “woman figure” to the school’s Mother’s Day celebration, the suit stated.
“Further, Pressman failed to address the bullying that Jane Doe 1 was subjected to because she has no mother and her father is a homosexual man,” the suit alleged.
By repeatedly asking the girls to bring a female family member to Mother’s Day festivities, the school was “essentially asking the girls to bring a surrogate mother instead of John Doe, who is as good a parent as any, and the only person (the sisters) would want to attend,” the suit stated.
At one point school officials told John Doe that it would be “best of Jane Doe 1 go to another school,” according to the plaintiff.
Pressman was the only school Jane Doe 1 ever attended and she thought her treatment there was normal until she saw a therapist who convinced John Doe to remove his daughters from the academy, the suit said.
The complaint further alleged that another student, identified as B.D., chided Jane Doe 1 by calling her an orphan because she did not have a mother and often asked other students if they would “sacrifice your life to kill Jane Doe 1,” but school officials did nothing when made aware of it.
Despite now attending another school, Jane Doe 1 “continues to suffer from the discrimination and bullying she experienced at Pressman Academy,” the suit stated.
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