- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

DECLO, Idaho (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho filed a lawsuit accusing an Idaho school district of sexual and religious discrimination in denying a senior a chance to run for student body president.

The suit was filed Monday on behalf of senior Sierra Norman against Declo High School and Cassia County School District, the Times-News (http://bit.ly/1zjuIs8) reported.

School officials argued that Norman took too many online dual-credit classes to qualify as a full-time student and was not taking six on-campus classes.

The newspaper said Norman is enrolled in the Idaho Digital Learning Academy and taking advanced placement and college credit classes. She wanted to run for president to aid her applications to Ivy League universities.

“I want to make sure no other student has to go through what I did with Declo High School,” Norman said in a prepared statement about the case. “While I will not be able to positively impact my school as student body president, I can stand up for student’s rights and impact schools all across Idaho.”

The ACLU says records show Norman is a full-time student, and the school district receives state funding based on her status.

The ACLU is requesting an independent investigation, written apology and training on fair treatment for school officials.

The complaint also asks the district to change its policies to avoid favoring students who participate in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seminary.

The lawsuit explains that the school approved a petition from a male student who also wasn’t enrolled in six on-campus classes. They allege the student was approved because he was male and took the LDS seminary class.

School district spokeswoman Debbie Critchfield said officials are looking over the lawsuit and will respond before Oct. 31.

Critchfield added that the school board trustees met with Norman and her mother last spring to discuss the issue in executive session. The trustees then asked the schools in the district to form committees to review policies on online classes and defining full-time enrollment status.

Norman said the response wasn’t adequate.

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Information from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com

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