The principal of David Crockett High School in Jonesborough got the ACLU all riled up after he engaged in a little preemptive protection of one gay student. According to the ACLU, Principal David Henry Marable suspended senior Curtis Walsh for participating in the National Day of Silence, a nationwide demonstration to illustrate the silence in which may lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students often suffer. "I just wanted to do something positive about the harassment I've had to deal with every day at this school," Walsh says.
But he didn't get far. Within minutes of arriving at school on April 18, the principal called Walsh and fellow participants into his office. The students say Marable claimed he was trying to protect them from others who might react badly to their demonstration.
In the end, the best Marable could do was send Walsh to his room—for a three-day suspension for his efforts to raise awareness. But Walsh's mother, Zina Owens, says Marable's drastic concern for her son's safety comes a little too late. "Where was all this concern about harassment when other students were calling Curtis names and threatening him every day?" Owens says.
The ACLU is calling for Marable's apology along with a "guarantee that the school won't violate students' rights in this fashion in the future." Read the ACLU's letter to the Washington County School System here