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04/29/2008

As if being a gay teen weren't tough enough

by Jeremy Hooper

200804291937-1The ACLU is coming down on Memphis, Tennessee's Hollis F. Price Middle College High and its principal, Daphne Beasley, for (allegedly) violating the privacy of two male students by publicly identifying them as gay. The claims, which sound more like they should be a plot on "Gossip Girl" than an actual public school situation, involve grown adults making hearsay assumptions (the boys' revealed relationship was all based on conjecture), employing anti-gay harassment (the principal told one of the moms she didn't like gay people), forcing the estrangement of the two students (they were told to avoid each other in the halls), and, of course, inappropriately disclosing private information (SHE OUTED THEM! ). You can read all about it at link:

ACLU Takes On High School Principal For Discriminating Against Male Couple [ACLU]

So what is the side of acceptance and fairness to hoping to gain out of this? Well, the ACLU is demanding that the district and the Board of Commissioners implement policies to prevent such from happening again, compensate the two teens for their suffering, reprimand Principal Beasley for her (alleged) ridiculousness, remove references to the incident in the students' permanent records, and issue apologies all around.

As for the side of anti-gay harassment? Well, we certainly want to hear their defense. However, considering the extent of the claims in this case, we imagine their most hoped-for takeaway is that ass handed to one on a platter doesn't taste as bad as it sounds.

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Your thoughts

The fact that the students are suffering abuse at the hands of faculty disgusts me. No wonder why bullying has never been resolved in our schools when the teachers themselves are the bullies.

The guys were lucky enough to find each other in a sea of straight people, now they have to be ostracized because of it.

If only I could have had the same when I was in high school. But then it was an all boys school at the time.

Posted by: Reverend Antonino Stefano Pellicia | Apr 29, 2008 8:13:17 PM

OMG...this is so outrageous it's hard to believe it's true.
This principal should be suspended or something.

Posted by: Alonzo | Apr 29, 2008 8:49:54 PM

My thoughts exactly this is harassment of the vilest sort, BY THE HIGH SCHOOL principal!
I have sent emails PFLAG with copies, and a donation to ACLU!!! We need to make NOISE about this.
Maybe someone needs to start a TWITTER group... however that goes so that HS students can report harassment nationally... eg specifically out of their local jurisdiction.

Posted by: LOrion | Apr 29, 2008 9:09:50 PM

According to Nicholas, he also suffered another consequence of the principal's discrimination. He had submitted extensive paperwork and several recommendations from teachers for a school trip to New Orleans to assist in rebuilding efforts. Having a long history of community service, he was considered a shoo-in to be selected to go before the incident, but then a teacher told Nicholas some faculty were afraid he might "embarrass the school" or engage in "inappropriate behavior." A few days later, another student who hadn't even applied to go on the trip was selected in his place.

----

Exert from the article. Utterly disgusting, whole thing makes me feel sick.

Posted by: | Apr 29, 2008 9:32:49 PM

It will be interesting to see how the school board responds to the attorney's demand letter.

Posted by: David | Apr 29, 2008 11:59:36 PM

OH, I'm so proud of my hometown. Again. /sarcasm.

Last time it was a massacre of an entire family carried out by a man over, like, drugs or something, that put us in the national news.

What next, Memphis?

Posted by: Break the Terror | Apr 30, 2008 12:19:02 PM

I hope the principal is suspended and disciplined, if not fired outright.

And I think it might help if the students in alleged hetero relationships on that list also joined in the suit, or organized another suit. Yes, the principal was much harsher on the gay boys by far (not even letting them study together!!!!), but their rights to privacy, to express affection, to have their relationship on their own terms were also violated.

Posted by: GreenEyed Lilo | May 1, 2008 9:24:19 AM

And now they have passed a bill against harassment in Florida, after 8 years of work. I have asked Waymon, but no answer on whether it included language against harassment
BY TEACHERS AND PRINCIPALS, also.

PS PFLAG had not heard of the case until I sent them the notice, but are on it now.

Posted by: LOrion | May 1, 2008 8:51:08 PM

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