Two former high school students have won $300,000 (£172,550) damages after they were subjected to relentless harassment for being gay.

In a unanimous decision the California Court of Appeal upheld a jury decision that found Poway Unified School District officials took no action to stop the verbal and physical homophobic attacks on two Poway High School students, Megan Donovan and Joey Ramelli.

Over the course of their junior year at the San Diego county school they were regularly verbally abused and Joey was physically assaulted and his car vandalised.

Both eventually dropped out of Poway High School and completed studies toward their high school diplomas at home.

“I was physically attacked and even had threats on my life,” said Mr Ramelli.

“I begged school officials for help, but they just didn’t care.

“No student anywhere should have to go through what I did.

“For me, my whole experience at Poway was just three years of my life I’d love to forget.”

Lambda Legal Senior Staff Attorney Brian Chase said the court had recognised that every student has a right to feel safe and protected at school.

“Unfortunately, what happened to Megan and Joey is far from uncommon,” he said.

“We hope this lawsuit and the attention it has generated will remind school officials everywhere that parents expect their kids to be safe from bullying and violence during school hours.”