The ACLU is protesting the outing of two high school students by their principal, who revealed the students’ relationship to other students and teachers, then called one of the student’s mother to reveal her son’s gayness and tell her that she would not tolerate homosexuality at her school.
In a letter to school board officials in Memphis, the ACLU demanded that the school reprimand the principal and take steps to ensure such actions never happen again. In September of 2007, the principal at Hollis F. Price Middle College High told teachers she wanted the names of all student couples, “hetero and homo,” because she wanted to monitor them personally to prevent students from engaging in public displays of affection.
The two students now represented by the ACLU, Andrew and Nicholas (who have asked that their last names not be revealed), were two A students who had been seeing each other for a short time and were attempting to keep their relationship quiet and private. The principal heard about them through another student, then wrote their names on a list she posted next to her desk, in full view of anyone who entered her office.
One of the boys’ mothers personally witnessed the list when she met with the principal a few days later. “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,” said Andrea, Andrew’s mother. “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.”
Although the boys had never been observed by any school staff engaging in any sort of display of affection, the principal called Nicholas’s mother Nichole. According to Nichole, the principal said things like “Did you know your son is gay?” repeatedly and went on to say that she didn’t like gay people and wouldn’t tolerate homosexuality at her school.
Both of the boys are “A” students and one of them subsequently was not chosen for a trip to New Orleans to assist in rebuilding. He was told the school was afraid he would engage in embarrassing or inappropriate behavior.