Dorothy Bond, principal of Haywood High School in Brownsville, TN resigned last night after making incendiary remarks toward LGBT teens and sexually active girls.
From ABC24 News:
“At first she was talking about PDA (public displays of affection) and she turned around and she directly pointed to the gay people and said if you’re gay you’re going to hell and if you’re pregnant, your life is over,” Student Amber Whittiemore said.
Parent Tony Snipes said,
“A couple of years ago when she was principal over at Sunny Hill one of my children had his hair in braids. At an assembly she told the young men if they’re sitting between the legs of a girl getting their hair braided for a few hours, that they must be gay.”
The Tennessee ACLU responded by sending a letter to the school district. From their press release:
“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.”
Multiple students contacted the ACLU to express concerns about an assembly that took place on Feb. 9. At the assembly, Principal Bond reportedly said that gay people are “ruining their lives” and threatened to administer severe punishment – including 60-day suspensions, assignments to an alternative school or expulsion – to any students who were observed publicly displaying affection for members of the same sex. The school already has a policy on public displays of affection that is neutral regarding sexual orientation.
The incident appears to be part of a broader pattern of official anti-gay remarks and policies by the principal, and of incorporating prayers and proselytizing into school events. On one occasion, school officials scolded students who did not bow their heads in prayer and threatened them with discipline. On another occasion, the principal told a lesbian student that she would go to “hell” because of her sexual orientation.
“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.”
Bond has reportedly resigned.
Bond isn’t alone among Tennessee homophobes. In the last few weeks alone, a bill was introduced that would make it okay for kids to bully for religious or political reasons. The same lawmaker that introduced that bill said that gay people were not “mentally healthy adult human beings.” Then he said that it was “virtually impossible” to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex.
As long as there are teachers like Bond, teachers who teach hate and lack of tolerance, future generations will be left behind to mourn the “values” of generations past, when men were men, women were women and “deviants” had the good graces to stay in the closet. Fortunately, Bond has resigned. Fortunately, it’s apparent this particular school did listen to the complaints, albeit too late to cause some damage, I’m sure. Fortunately time marches on. Civil rights will march on. Acceptance will march on. Perhaps Tennessee will eventually join the rest of us in our march toward progress.
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