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Old 05-02-2008, 06:15 PM   #1
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Memphis Principal Accused Of Outing Gay Students

abcnews.com

By EMILY FRIEDMAN
May 2, 2008


A Memphis high school principal, fed up with public displays of affection in the hallways, allegedly displayed a list of couples — including some who are gay — in the school, publicly outing the boys and violating their privacy, according to one of the students involved.

"I really feel that my personal privacy was invaded," Nicholas, one of the young men who claims his sexuality was exposed without his approval by his principal, told ABC News' Memphis affiliate Eyewitness News Everywhere. "I mean, Principal Beasley called my mother and outed me to my mother!"

"It was actually frightening," Nicholas said of the incident, which occurred in Fall 2007, "to see a list with my name on it where not just other teachers could see but students as well."

Nicholas, an 11th grader at Hollis F. Price Middle College High School in Memphis, was allegedly named, along with his suspected boyfriend, 10th grader Andrew, on a list of couples posted by their principal, Daphne Beasley.

Beasley did not return calls made by ABCNEWS.com but according to a statement from the Memphis school district, while the principal was tired of the hallway hanky-panky, she did nothing wrong in alerting parents to the activity.

"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," said Van D. Turner, Jr., associate general counsel of the Memphis City Schools Board of Education, in a statement provided to ABCNEWS.com. "Additionally, the list was never posted publicly anywhere at the school."

According to the statement, this "call list" was used by Beasley to "notify the parents of those children she knew to be involved romantically" after the school received "numerous complaints" of "explicit sexual behavior in public view."

ACLU Threatens Legal Action

The case has been taken up by the leading civil liberties group in the United States.

"I really couldn't believe that a principal would have done something like this," said Christine Sun, the American Civil Liberties Union attorney handling the case after it was brought to her attention by Nicholas' mother.

"The Constitution provides all of us with the right to privacy and the right to associate whomever we want to associate with," said Sun. "And by creating this list and intruding upon these students' privacy without any reason to, she violated their constitutional rights."

The ACLU claims in a letter to the Memphis City Schools dated April 29 that the principal requested over the school intercom system that all the teachers and staff provide her with the names of students who were a couple, "hetero or homo."

What's more, according to the ACLU, the list was not as confidential as the school district claims, but rather posted in full view of those who entered the principal's office — including gossipy high school students.

"The list was in plain site of anyone who walked into the principal's office," said Sun, who said there were approximately 15 other couples on the list, including several more who were also gay. "It's our understanding that [Nicholas and Andrew's] names, and the fact that they were a couple, quickly spread at the school."

Sun, who told ABCNEWS.com that she believes the Memphis school district to be "homophobic," said that Nicholas' mother — who was "shocked" to hear that her son is gay — reported that Beasley said she "had a problem with homosexuality" and that "homosexuality will not be tolerated."

ABC News doesn't have the last names of the students, and the ACLU said both the boys and their parents declined to be interviewed for this story.

"It's raised our concerns about how gay students are treated," added Sun, who said that the ACLU will take legal action if they do not receive a response from the Memphis School District before May 9.

The school board, meanwhile, is sticking to its stance.

"It is the position of the Memphis City Schools that he principal did act in an appropriate manner in order to correct a serious issue [of public display of affection] at the school and that Memphis City Schools has not subjected either of these students to discriminatory treatment," said the school board's Turner in the statement.

A formal response will be drafted before the ACLU's deadline, Turner told ABCNEWS.com.
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:28 PM   #2
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I guess he outed the straight students, too.

I don't think "anybodys name" should have been released.

but if you neck in hallways, people will "see" you and talk?
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:46 PM   #3
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part of me is happy to see that gay kids in high school are making out in front of other students, rather than the lonely gay kid being sought out by individual, repressed football players for furtive, drunken encounters in back sets.

that is progress.

if she's unfairly targeting gay students, that's another matter.
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:48 PM   #4
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I think the notion of posting a list is ridiculous.

If you have a problem with students' conduct, I imagine you could:

1. enforce conduct with hall monitors;
2. take disciplinary action (detentions, etc);
3. approach the parents.

Posting a list however is a bit out of bounds. What does it get you?
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:57 PM   #5
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Outing someone to his mother when he is not out to his mother is wrong, much more damaging I would imagine than PDA in school. If it's also true that she has those feelings about homosexuality then I would question her motives in how she handled the situation.

Your fellow students might see you and talk, maybe someone might even out you to your mother- that's possible. But a principal has to be professional and is held to a higher standard. Should be able to come up with a better way to stop PDA. "Hetero or homo" said over the PA isn't exactly the best start.
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:50 AM   #6
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This story is also wrong in so many ways. Stupid Principal listing students who may not be "out" to their families or community has got to be some kind of a violation of privacy!
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Old 05-03-2008, 04:19 PM   #7
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Doesn't sound like the ole principal really thought this one through - whatever happened to cautioning students and mentioning that it would be discussed with parents / guardians if it ever happenend again? Meh
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Old 05-03-2008, 05:40 PM   #8
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Sounds like Principal Daphne Beasley should have gotten help for her sexual hangups or been a nun instead. One of the high schools in my city has banned gossip. Now, how are high school kids going to learn how to work in an office if they can't gossip?
The schools should focus on teaching the students the basics instead of all this bs. It's going to hurt the students development in the long run, because the students are being told normal teenage behavior is wrong, or is it a way of conditioning the students to conform in a fascist big brother state?
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Old 05-03-2008, 05:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Carek1230
This story is also wrong in so many ways. Stupid Principal listing students who may not be "out" to their families or community has got to be some kind of a violation of privacy!
If they're not "out" to their families or community and wanted to keep that information private I wonder why would they be kissing/being affectionate with someone infront of their peers?

Anyway, it was definitely wrong for the Principal to do that and unfair to all the pupils involved, regardless of their sexuality.
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Old 05-05-2008, 03:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by watergate
The schools should focus on teaching the students the basics instead of all this bs. It's going to hurt the students development in the long run, because the students are being told normal teenage behavior is wrong, or is it a way of conditioning the students to conform in a fascist big brother state?
I'm not defending the posting of a list that details couples, whether same-sex or opposite-sex. At the same time, I am all for enforcing proper conduct. It is inappropriate for kids to be engaging in sexual conduct on school grounds.
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Old 05-05-2008, 04:18 AM   #11
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Would kissing and hugging fall under "PDA"?
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Old 05-05-2008, 08:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by nathan1977


I'm not defending the posting of a list that details couples, whether same-sex or opposite-sex. At the same time, I am all for enforcing proper conduct. It is inappropriate for kids to be engaging in sexual conduct on school grounds.
I agree. I don't know about other schools, but my school clearly prohibited this type of thing in the student handbook. Giving multiple "warnings" was a waste of time for teachers and administration. All the repeat offenders knew full well what they were doing and ignored warnings anyway. If these kids are so concerned about concealing relationships, then why are they not even familiar with the codes of conduct for their school? Personally, I don't care what other people do, in school or out, but the point is that no one needs to be repeatedly reminded of basic rules and then cry that they are being picked on after the fact. Whether or not calling parents was "fair", kids are kids, and if that's how the school handles discipline (them being minors and all), then I don't see why this incident would be handled any differently.
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Old 05-05-2008, 09:47 AM   #13
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At least there are the mainstream churches out there with all their respect
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A senior Anglican education official in NSW has declared that people who believe in the Bible should not expect to be allowed to take same-sex partners to school balls because Christianity frowns on homosexuality.

Laurie Scandrett, chief executive of the Sydney Anglican Schools Corporation, which oversees 15 of the 40 Anglican Schools in the NSW capital, has backed a controversial decision by a leading Brisbane Anglican boys school to prevent final year students from taking same-sex partners to its formal.

Dr Scandrett said there was no "edict" among its schools preventing gay students from taking their partners to school formals but it "would not be encouraged".

"The school formal is meant to be a formal dance between a young man and a young woman, not a young man and a young man," he said.

"If you believe what the Bible says, that's how you should behave or act. It boils down to what you believe.

"The Bible is very strong that marriage is between a man and a woman and homosexual relationships are not permissible in a sense, not encouraged, they are spoken very strongly against."

Dr Scandrett said he did have some sympathy for gay students who wished to take their partners to the coming-of-age function but people knew the position of Anglican schools on homosexuality when they enrolled.

"Most parents send their children to our schools because of the Christian values that our schools espouse, because our schools stand for biblical values," he said.

"We love all our [gay] students as we do all people in our churches but their lifestyle is not encouraged, particularly if it was a promiscuous lifestyle. We are dealing with young people here.

"In Sydney, a homosexual person is valued because they are a person but would not be appointed to a position in the diocese, but would be welcome in our churches because everyone is welcome."

Dr Scandrett said Anglican schools in NSW were permitted to ban gay couples at school events if they chose to.

"Each school is a legal individual entity," he said.

"In NSW the schools are exempted in the Anti-Discrimination Act so whatever decision the school made, they would be entitled to make it."

NSW Anti-Discrimination Board president Stephen Kerkyasharian and Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen have been contacted for comment.

Kelvin Canavan, executive director of Catholic Schools in Sydney, said the issue had never been raised in the Sydney Catholic education system but was unwilling to comment on what his response would be if it emerged in the future.

"If it ever does come up I will answer the question then," he said.

Public schools in NSW must adhere to the Anti-Discrimination Act and have been directed that it is "unlawful to discriminate against or harass a person on the grounds of race, sex, marital status, disability, homosexuality or age".

A NSW Education Department spokesman said same-sex couples would be allowed at school balls or formals in the state system.

"Discrimination is not tolerated in public schools. The Department's policies require principals to act against such behaviour, including homophobia," he said.

"Further, depending on the circumstances, it is likely that to refuse entry to same-sex partners at a school-organised formal would breach anti-discrimination legislation."
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/school-bars-samesex-partners/2008/04/15/1208025146660.html

So here we give both gay bars and religious schools exemption from anti-discrimination laws that apply to the rest of society, what a bloody joke for the rest of us. It isn't like we can invoke the principle of private institution because these schools get public money and there are laws that force private institutions to abide by anti-discrimination law.
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