The ACLU is demanding that school officials rebuke Haywood County principal Dorothy Bond for harassing gay children and threatening to expel them for showing affection for each other. At an assembly in February, Bond said gay students are "not on God's path," according to parents. She also said gay people are “ruining their lives.” While Bond was at it, she threw down on pregnant girls, telling them their "life is over."
“Students should never be made to feel like they are unwelcome at their own school, especially by school leadership,” said Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee. “We expect school officials to clearly state that they do not condone this type of harassment and targeted discrimination, and to take action to ensure that it does not happen again.”
The ACLU said Bond also has incorporated prayers and proselytizing into school events, and school officials have scolded students who did not bow their heads in prayer and threatened them with discipline. Bond told a lesbian student that she would go to hell because of her sexual orientation, the ACLU said.
“Students have the right to be who they are at school,” said Amanda Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT Project. “LGBT students and pregnant and parenting students have just as much right to complete their education as any other student, but too often they face significant barriers or outright discrimination. It’s appalling to think that a principal would kick students out of public school based on her personal religious views.”
So this is what happens when state leaders spend their time in the legislature trying to make life harder for gay people—and when the governor is so afraid of offending right-wingers that he won't speak out against it. Much already has been made of all this year's anti-gay legislation—not to mention the, ahem, intemperate remarks from certain homophobic lawmakers. It can't help but embolden bigots like Bond across Tennessee.