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Principal outs gay kids, ACLU steps in

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Principal outs gay kids, ACLU steps in

by Nick Langewis

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Daphne Beasley, principal of Hollis F. Price Middle College in Memphis, Tennessee, is under fire for outing at least one gay couple in her student body, according to the ACLU-backed couple and their parents.

In September of 2007, Beasley sought out couples of all kinds to monitor them for public displays of affection. She compiled a list of names, which included students Andrew and Nicholas (last names omitted), based on information she received from teachers and students; the list was clearly visible to anyone who visited her office.

Of those that saw this list was Andrew's mother, Andrea. "I couldn't believe it when I went to meet with the principal and that list was right there by her desk where anyone could see it," she said. "African American people face enough obstacles to succeeding in this world and I want my son to have every opportunity he's worked so hard for. Our schools should be helping our children do well, not tearing them down for something like this."

"This is a public high school that runs on taxpayer dollars," said attorney Bruce Kramer. "As such, it is part of the government and must obey the Constitution in dealing with the students entrusted to its care each day."

According to Nicholas' mother Nichole, the principal said that she didn't tolerate homosexuality in the school and repeatedly asked if she knew her son was gay. The honor student underwent further humiliation, in addition to verbal harassment, when taken out of the running for a class trip to New Orleans related to rebuilding efforts, as a risk to the school's image; Nicholas was told that there were fears he'd embarrass the school by engaging in "inappropriate behavior."

"This school has no business singling these boys out and taking away educational opportunities against them simply because they were dating," added Mr. Kramer.

"We never bothered anyone or did a single thing at school that broke any of the rules," Nicholas, a junior, said. "Every day I feel like they're still punishing me, and I'm worried that this is going to hurt my chances to get into a good college."

"The principal's outing of these two students to their families, classmates, and teachers is unacceptable," said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU of Tennessee's Executive Director. "Its only purpose was to intimidate not only these students but all gay students at Hollis Price.

"Educators," Weinberg continued, "should be focused on educating their students and not on harassing them because of their sexual orientation or the people with whom they associate."

Since private talks with the Office of General Counsel failed, the ACLU has issued a letter to Memphis school board officials today, demanding that Beasley be reprimanded, and that school policies be put in place to ensure a learning environment free of discrimination based on a student's actual or perceived sexual orientation.

Also called for is an apology to every person on Beasley's 2007 list.

Copyright ? 2007 Page One News Media, Inc.

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This principal needs to be fired.

She should know better than most that you never know what is going to happen when you out high school kids. She set them up for harrassment at the very least. We have seen very recently that assault, murder, severe family problems and even suicide can result.

IMHO she should be charged with reckless endangerment and never have anything to do with education again.

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She certainly needs to be removed from the position of principal, charged with corruption of duty, and whatever else you can think of, and then locked up in an all women's prison where she could could get the breast feeding she missed out as a baby.

As for the students on her list, they should be given free scholarships to whichever college they elect and funded by the school board, after they have been given private counselling and tutoring to regain their self respect.

A finding in favour of the students for damages due to pain and suffering in the $millions against the school and state education authority might make them more careful in the selection of principals in the future.

Bring the system to its knees.

Free fellatio now!

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And this school has the BALLS to have this on the home page of their website -- look at the symbols on the right:

HollisFPriceMiddleCollege.jpg

"Every Child College Bound Every Day" -- unless you're gay

"Blue Ribbon Plan - Memphis City Schools" -- unless you're gay

"No Child Left Behind" -- unless you're gay

What a crock. I agree with James and everyone else who's posted here: she should be fired. I hope that Andrew's and Nicholas' parents hired a very good attorney who will successfully sue and get a large monetary settlement and changes in the way gays are treated in the Memphis City Schools both the school district and especially from Principal Daphne Beasley.

Colin :stare:

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She and the school and district can make all sorts of claims, considering that they also named straight students.

But I would hope some of the other students and parents would stop and think about how harmful it could be to them as well.

The main issue is, though, Andrew and Nicholas could both have faced physical assault at school or abuse of one kind or another at home. The school could've lost two fine students, simply because the principal never understood The Scarlet Letter and basic privacy and limits apply to the school staff's decisions too.

Those young guys are still facing public shame and reduced chances for their educations, much less their personal lives and self-esteem, simply because they might (or might not) have shown affection in some way or other at school. How needless to get that bent out of shape over kids showing affection or over it being two boys together. (Those are two separate issues.)

That woman is just plain wrong in how she handled this *and* in taking her personal opinions on proper behavior and sexual orientation too far into her responsibility to be an educator and leader. I hope she is fired.

I know all too well what it's like to be harassed at school, and what other friends went through, from when I was younger. Actually, I am sure I don't know the half of it. Then again, I was surprised once when a doctor said my nose had a deviated septum, because I know how that happened.

I wish all the best to Andrew and Nicholas, and I wish that principal would learn why what she did is so wrong.

Yes, it makes me mad and a little sad. It shouldn't happen like that. When will we ever learn?

That is why places like AD and CW and others are so needed, and why information, help resources, stories, and forums are needed.

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School Board response to ACLU Letter:

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.

Full story here

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If she had it on her desk or office, where anyone who came in could read it, then that's public enough.

Speculation: Were couple's names listed together? Two boys' or girls' names together?

Even if the principal made announcements, some students are still going to show affection.

If she tried to enlist the parents... that's outing any allegedly gay kids to those parents.

Nope, it's still not the right way to address the issue.

What an example to show students and parents. We, as a school staff and school system, will avoid accepting responsibility for our actions, and we won't admit when we were wrong, or correct ourselves.

What's worse, the good teachers, the ones who would handle it well, will have to deal with the others' bad leadership. The students and parents will have to put up with a bad example, and many will consider it acceptable.

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That's insane. Not only should that principal be fired, she should never be able to be a part of the education system again. Blatant homophobia should not be tolerated at schools whatsoever. Harassing students for something they can't change is unacceptable.

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That's insane. Not only should that principal be fired, she should never be able to be a part of the education system again. Blatant homophobia should not be tolerated at schools whatsoever. Harassing students for something they can't change is unacceptable.

Agree completely! And I hope the lawyers get a reasonable financial settlement for damages. The young men can probably use the funds for college.

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