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The principal issue: Did she 'out' or not?

by Jeremy Hooper

 Images MemphisAnd now in "widely conflicting accounts of what went down during two gay dudes' school days" news: We have a followup to the situation in Memphis in which a high school principal is being accused of outing and harassing two queer students. Yesterday, Memphis City Schools issued a statement countering the ACLU's claims and defending principal Daphne Beasley. Read it after the jump:

Memphis City Schools is committed to providing its students with the best possible learning environment. Hollis F. Price Middle College is an accelerated high school, which is located on the historically black LeMoyne-Owen College campus. Eligible students may enroll in college classes in pursuit of completing the first two years of college while attending this high school.

Because we have high school students on a college campus, we have to carefully monitor the activities of our students. We are at all times proactive in assuring that our students are provided a safe, nurturing and disciplined learning climate. Unfortunately, in fall 2007, we received numerous complaints from LeMoyne-Owen College faculty and staff that some of our student couples were involved in explicit sexual behavior in public view on the college campus.

In light of this information from LeMoyne-Owen faculty and staff, the principal of Hollis F. Price made several general announcements to the student body that this behavior would not be tolerated. Regrettably, the improper behavior continued. Therefore, the principal felt it appropriate to notify the parents of those children she knew to be involved romantically. This was done in an effort to gain the support of the parents in reinforcing the message that such behavior is in violation of Memphis City Schools’ Student Code of Conduct. The principal did not list any information other than students’ names on her personal call list, and she certainly did not specify the sexual orientation of any student. Additionally, the list was never posted publicly anywhere at the school.

It is the position of Memphis City Schools that the principal did act in an appropriate manner in order to correct a serious issue at the school and that Memphis City Schools has not subjected either of these students to discriminatory treatment.

In the coming days, we will submit a formal response to the ACLU. We look forward to working with them to amicably resolve this matter.

Hmm. These words are certainly very different than the detailed claims that the ACLU has laid out. So whose version of events is more in accordance with that lil' thing called truth? Well, only the principal, the boys, and that one nosey kid who's alway up in everyone else's bidness knows for sure. We'll keep you updated, should any of them add more fuel or water to the fire.

UPDATE: Principal Accused of Outing Gay Students Did Nothing Wrong, According to Memphis City Schools Statement [Eyewitness News]

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Your thoughts

I know PFLAG is looking into it now. I will await a report from them I think. I appreciate the adult/community viewpoints they can present. Hopefully, it will not interfere with a legal process, but those are always too slow anyway... especially for HighSchool students. They will be gone and the case will be thrown out again unless the ACLU can learn not to move like molasses... They didn't even notify any PFLAG person about 'the case.'... all this could have been exposed and corrected in October!!

Posted by: LOrion | May 2, 2008 4:03:01 PM

What this principal did was very wrong. Not only did she 'out' a gay couple, but posted for everyone to see a list of all allegedly romantic pairs in the school as if they were guilty of some crime. That's a horrible violation of privacy and I hope thise results in a lawsuit not only from the two boys, but by the parents of every kid on that list.

Posted by: John | May 2, 2008 5:57:20 PM

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